This summer's annual concert series at the Robin Hood Dell East has been scratched due to the serious safety issues created by poor drainage undermining the foundation of the venue. Engineers today briefed City Council's Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, saying the Dell needs immediate repairs. Clay Armbrister, Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, said he hoped to limit the closure to just one summer. But the price for repairs is on the rise. The city put aside about $3 million for an overhaul but the job might cost as much as $4.5 million, Armbrister said.
Erica Atwood, the deputy city representative, told Council members that she is putting together a plan to hold concerts in city neighborhoods this summer. Atwood wants to expand the line-up from the Dell's typical old-school national R&B acts to include salsa, pop rock and other types of music. She also wants to get local bands involved in performing.
While the Dell gets a make-over, the news is far more grim for Camp William Penn, the bucolic summer get-away for local kids. Armbrister told Council the camp needs such extensive repairs that it isn't worth sinking in the money. Annual attendance is on the decline and Recreation Department staffers freely admit the kids who do go rarely want to come back. The Department is now working with Outward Bound to host a local camp for city youths and with the Salvation Army-run Camp Ladore near Scranton for get-away camping.