Rotary Club of Salem picks contractor for amphitheater named for Gerry Frank

A rendering of the Gerry Frank Salem Rotary Amphitheater, slated to be built at Riverfront Park. (Courtesy of the Rotary Club of Salem)

A proposed amphitheater at Riverfront Park, named after prominent Salem resident Gerry Frank, has its contractor.

The Rotary Club of Salem announced Sunday it picked Dalke Construction, of Salem, to build the amphitheater that will host movies, music and more at the park. The club estimates the project will cost $4 million. Construction could start and finish in 2020.

The amphitheater is officially named the Gerry Frank Salem Rotary Amphitheater. Frank, 96, inherited the now-defunct Meier & Frank chain of department stores, spent nearly 30 years working with former U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield and has been involved with myriad organizations in Oregon.

“Whether they know it or not, there probably isn’t a single person in the State of Oregon who hasn’t been touched by Gerry’s generosity and gracious service to Oregonians,” said Barry Nelson, co-chair of the amphitheater project.

The bridge is inspired by the woven baskets of the Native American Kalapuya tribe that once occupied the site, according to the club. It was designed by Salem firm CB Two Architects.

“It’s a really stunning design,” Nelson said.

Dalke Construction president Larry Dalke called the project a “landmark that will serve this community for generations.”

“I got chills upon learning we will have an opportunity to build such an extraordinary project,” he said in a statement.

The Rotary Club of Salem has been working on this project since November 2016. Of the estimated $4 million price tag, the club has raised $1.1 million to date, Nelson said. He said they are planning more fundraising efforts.

Nelson said the club plans to donate the structure to the city of Salem after construction.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, [email protected] or @TroyWB.

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