Chautauqua Institution plans still on hold, temporary restraining order extended

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Plans to reconstruct the Amphitheater at the beloved Chautauqua Institution are still on hold after a New York Supreme Court extended a temporary restraining order against construction.

With plans for a $40 million project to reconstruct underway, leaders of the institution were taken aback when detractors filed a lawsuit in Supreme Court asking for the project to be halted. Since then, the project’s validity has been under question in court.

On Monday afternoon, a session in court saw Chautauqua Institution representatives explain the project on record. Supreme Court Justice Frank Sedita then extended the restraining order to continue hearing both sides of the project.

Officials say lawyers will meet with Sedita privately on Wednesday, and a second hearing will take place next week.

“While disappointed that we cannot begin work, we are pleased that Judge Sedita recognizes the urgency of our spring construction schedule,” Chautauqua Institution officials said in a release. “In the meantime, we continue to move forward with planning, logistics and procurement of materials for this critical project.”

The Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater, however, saw the day as a victory.

“Today’s extension of the temporary restraining order is an important next step in preserving Chautauqua’s sacred space and one of America’s most historic landmarks,” Brian Berg, committee leader, said. “We are pleased Judge Sedita and the court are proceeding carefully and we’re looking forward to continuing the process next week.”

News 4 recently looked into the proposed project and why some are against it. See the in-depth report here. 

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