Chautauqua Institution to continue Amphitheater project; restraining order lifted

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The temporary restraining order preventing the Chautauqua Institution from demolishing and replacing most of the historic amphitheater has been lifted.

Institute officials say the massive $41.5 million project has been carefully planned out and care has been taken to ensure all actions comply with laws and are permitted. Most construction permits were issued to the Institution in January.

In court on Thursday, New York Supreme Court Judge Frank Sedita did not grant a preliminary injunction, which would continue to block the project, and he lifted a temporary restraining order first issued on Jan. 25.

“Our goal has not changed: Create a state-of-the-art, renewed Amp that will carry on the facility’s legacy as the heart and soul of our Institution for generations to come,” George Murphy, vice president of the Institution, said in a release.

Opposition to the project, and the group that filed the lawsuit, conceded defeat, expressing disappointment in the decision to do away with the current Amphitheater.

“Had leadership of the Institution been truly interested in a solution that united the community, it would have explored preservation options openly and sincerely with experts and stakeholders,” Brian Berg said. “Instead, a deeply divided community will get a $41.5 million structure devoid of the original Amp’s authenticity and history.”

Berg, who leads the opposition, said the Amphitheater is the Institution’s most valuable asset, and it will be lost for future generations to enjoy, replaced by what he called an inferior structure.

Although work had been blocked for nearly three weeks, officials say they continued work legally on the project in the form of planning, logistics and purchasing of materials.

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