Builders group eyes Lower Courthouse Park project

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Jim Leute
Monday, April 21, 2014

JANESVILLE—With an improving economy and sizable private donations, a local builders association wants to move forward with plans for an improved amphitheater at Lower Courthouse Park in Janesville.

The South Central Wisconsin Builders Association unveiled plans in 2007 for a roof over the park's stage and other improvements.

The city approved the plans, but a souring economy forced the association to put the project on its back burner.

The family of the late Marvin Roth has now committed what association executive officer Carol Engebretson said is a sizable amount to the project, which she said is expected to cost about $200,000.

The project also has received another sizable anonymous donation, she said.

If approved by the city in May, the project will move forward and be named after Roth, a well-known community and downtown booster.

Engebretson said the idea for the structure was a longtime entry on the bucket list of former parks director Tom Presny.

Association members, she said, would build the structure and offer other in-kind donations.

The structure would primarily be a roof over the stage.

Angus-Young Associates designed it with a vintage appearance to complement both the downtown and architectural features of several buildings in the immediate area.

The masonry columns would have split-face block on the bottom and a beige-colored brick on top similar to the Old Carnegie Library, now the Janesville Senior Center across the street. The roof would duplicate the arched roof of the nearby Rock County Courthouse. The steel understructure would be painted the green of the city's tree logo.

The structure would provide shade and shelter for performers.

“There also would be updated electrical work so performers aren't always blowing fuses, as well as nice lighting,” Engebretson said.

“We think this would be a nice starting point for the downtown revitalization that's coming.”

Engebretson said that if the city approves, work would be done in September and October.

 The Lower Courthouse Park is owned by Rock County and has been leased by the city since 1863. The leisure services department uses the amphitheater for performances. The stage area also is rented to community groups for public events.

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