Work continues on Tidewater Center in Saugerties

The audience watching the Arm-of-the-Sea Mask and Puppet Theater performing, “The Rejuvenary River Circus,” on the bandstand stage at the Saugerties Annual Garlic Festival 2012. (Photo by Jim Peppler)

Arm-of-the-Sea Theater is moving full speed ahead on fundraising efforts and site preparations for opening its new COVID-safe outdoor performance space this summer on the Saugerties waterfront. This is the next phase in the development of the Tidewater Center: a cultural park for arts, Hudson River science and local heritage that the organization is creating on the site of a former paper mill.

“Our theater company got started in 1982 by performing at riverfront festivals, and we continued that practice as part of our bag of tricks,” notes co-founder Patrick Wadden. “Now, out of the isolation and insecurity of the pandemic comes a deep need for reconvening community gatherings. We are ready and able to help reopen cultural life with our special brand of locally sourced theater rites for the downhearted and disenchanted.”

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Construction work will include covering the contaminated site with two feet of clean fill and setting up a parking area and a performance arena situated between the towering mill ruins and the tidal Esopus Creek.

Arm-of-the-Sea Theater is moving full speed ahead on fundraising efforts and site preparations for opening its new COVID-safe outdoor performance space this summer on the Saugerties waterfront.

Saugerties contractors Frank and Zack Torok are scheduled to begin work in the coming weeks. Their expertise and machinery will bring sweeping changes to the long-abandoned, hazardous property. If all goes as planned, the Tidewater Center will open to the public for outdoor performances and other programs in July. Access to the site is through the Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park at 61 East Bridge Street in the Village of Saugerties.

Meanwhile, Arm-of-the-Sea continues to solicit funds to cover the $100,000 Phase One construction costs. Two-thirds of the budget have been secured thus far from grants and generous individuals. Would-be contributors can donate via Indiegogo to the Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center Capital Campaign at www.indiegogo.com/projects/arm-of-the-sea-tidewater-center-capital-campaign#.

Beacon-based One Nature, LLC served as design consultant in developing the project’s master plan. When fully built, the Tidewater Center will include a 99-seat theater, aquatic classroom, science lab, art studio, exhibition space and a waterworks playground inspired by the historic water-powered mills of Saugerties. Learn more about the project at www.armofthesea.org/the-tidewater-center.