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Campaign begins to stop demolition of Chautauqua Amphitheater

Two preservation groups announced Tuesday the launching of a grass-roots campaign and possible legal effort to stop the planned demolition of the historic Chautauqua Amphitheater.

The new group, called Chautauqua Nation, was formed by Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture and the Committee to Save the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater.

The Chautauqua Institution, in a controversial decision in August, voted to build a replacement for the 122-year-old outdoor theater. The board is expected to reconsider construction bids later this month, after construction bids were higher than expected in November.

Campaign for Greater Buffalo’s Executive Director Tim Tielman and the Committee to Save the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater‘s Chairman Brian Berg said in a statement that alternatives to demolition exist and should be pursued.

“The Amphitheater is the center of Chautauqua Institution, and the icon of Chautauqua County – the reason the very word Chautauqua is known across the nation,” they wrote. “There is no reason prudent repairs and necessary updates can’t happen at far less cost in treasure and heartache.”

The group also seeks donations and volunteers. For more information, call 854-3749.