Rockin' the Aquatorium
By Chris Buckley
Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Constructed in 1969, the Noble J. Dick Aquatorium was built to commemorate Monongahela's bicentennial.
Forty-four years later, 2013 could be the busiest year for the Aquatorium since its opening, said Councilwoman Claudia Williams.
After years of preparation and construction, the new-look Aquatorium will be unveiled June 8 with grand opening activities and a concert by The Hillbilly Way.
Other concerts on tap are Jill West and the Blues Attack June 15 and the “Oh What a Night” musical tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons June 29.
July 6 will feature Bon Journey, a tribute band to the music of Bon Jovi and Journey.
July 13 will feature Johnny Angel and the Halos, and Joe Gruschecky and the Houserockers will appear onstage July 20. Sydney Hutchko will entertain July 27.
The Billy Price Band will lead off the August list of entertainers Aug. 3. Jimbo and the Soupbone will appear Aug. 10, Tres Lads will entertain Aug. 17 and No Bad JuJu will headline Aug. 24.
“We're excited about the concert series,” said Williams, who is also director of Aquatorium Innovations. “To my knowledge, this will be the first time it is used all summer.
“And we'd love to see other organizations jump in and utilize it.”
Williams said the Aquatorium is available for carnivals, church concerts, weddings, community picnics and dog shows, for example.
The Aquatorium's rebirth has been years in the making.
“I started working on the grant applications ever since I was first appointed (to council) five years ago,” said Williams. “Finally it's all coming together.”
Construction of a boat dock is expected to begin shortly and take about four weeks to complete. The work is being funded by a $100,000 Boat Infrastructure Grant.
“You will be able to dock there, come up into the community and shop, enjoy a show and our town and then go back,” Williams said. “It's a way to get boaters to the city.”
A skate park is also being constructed this year, utilizing Community Development Block Grant and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grants totaling roughly $100,000.
Williams said Aquatorium Innovations is still accepting monetary and material donations for the renovation project. Potential donors can call her at 724-258-5905.
The Monongahela Women's Club recently donated $5,000 to the Aquatorium project.
Within the last year, the substructure and the bleachers at the Aquatorium were replaced and the storm sewers rerouted. Security cameras were installed.
The goal all along, Williams said, has been to create a niche for the community centering around the unique Aquatorium setting.
Williams said food vendors, a disc jockey and an opening act will precede the headliners.
“Our goal is to get people to come into the city, shop, get something to eat, enjoy the shows and spend the whole day in town,” Williams said.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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