A piece of art in Fair Oaks could be lost forever.
The Fair Oaks Recreation and Parks District is planning to renovate the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater in Plaza Park.
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The parks district began discussing the plans in 2008, but funding wasn’t available.
Ten years later, voters approved money for the project through a ballot measure in 2018.
“Right now, the whole facility is not ADA compatible,” said Mike Aho, district administrator for Fair Oaks Recreation and Parks. “None of it is.”
The plan will make the entire theater ADA compliant, allow it to be used year-round while keeping the open-air concept. Upgrades will also be made to bathrooms and dressing rooms.
But keeping the mural might not be an option.
“We found out that to remove the two pieces of art would cost over $330,000,” Aho said.
Engineers also told the parks district it was unlikely any of the panels would survive being moved.
“I don’t want that to happen any more than anyone else,” Aho said. “But I also want a safe facility, and I want a facility that’s usable for the next 40 years.”
The artist behind the seven-panel mural said he can’t believe it could be destroyed.
“I still don’t believe it,” said Hugh Gorman, the local artist who painted the amphitheater.
Gorman said he would bounce ideas off friends and neighbors at a nearby coffee shop when he was brainstorming back in 1985.
“I thought about all these things so much,” Gorman said. “And if I changed my mind, it’s just paint.”
Gorman said he hopes the parks district board of directors will come to another solution.
“This thing has heart,” he said.
The parks district board of directors is set to talk about the mural and possibly vote on its future Wednesday.
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