Pete Aguilar Announces $1.4M for Renovation of Historic Roosevelt Bowl at Perris Hill Park San Bernardino

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

• 

Jan 30, 2023

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Utilize Our Platform

  • The Roosevelt Bowl at Perris Hill Park in San Bernardino, CA, is a historic outdoor amphitheater built in 1934 as part of the Federal Work Progress Administration during the Great Depression. 
  • Recently, Congressman Pete Aguilar announced $1.4 million in funds from the newly passed federal budget for the Roosevelt Bowl.
  • In 2022, the city allocated $600,000 to clear the area, secure the backstage, replace fencing, and address electrical issues.

History of Roosevelt Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles is a well-known outdoor performance venue with a long history and a similar layout, if not capacity, to a venue located about 70 miles to the east.

The Federal Work Progress Administration, a large-scale employment and infrastructure project started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, included the construction of the Roosevelt Bowl in northeast San Bernardino in 1934.

The $26,000 amphitheater’s grand opening drew almost 3,000 people.

The bronze plaque unveiled by the mayor, Ormonde W. Seccombe, nearly 90 years ago still stands over the door to the humble backstage apartments.

Roosevelt Bowl at Perris Hill Park was abandoned for at least ten years due to financial difficulties brought on by the former All-America City’s five years of bankruptcy. Eventually, transients found a method to access the park’s power and water facilities and made it their home.

Last year, when first seeing the location, parks director Lydie Gutfeld spoke three words.

“WHAT IS THAT”

Roosevelt Bowl is surrounded by imposing oaks that provide shade for the endless rows of bleachers that locals formerly filled for live performances, community activities, and graduations.

Mayor and Council allocate $600,000 for the reconstruction.

To renovate Roosevelt Bowl, San Bernardino officials allocated $600,000 at the start of 2022. This money was used to clear the area beneath the bleachers of trash and debris, clean and secure the backstage commons, replace the surrounding fencing, and address electrical problems.

Pete Aguilar announces $1.4 million in funding.

On January 23, San Bernardino city officials and locals joined Congressman Pete Aguilar to announce that the historic Roosevelt Bowl in Perris Hill Park will receive $1.4 million from the newly passed federal budget.

“It is my privilege to announce that I secured $1,400,000 in Community Project Funds to restore this historic venue,” said Rep. Aguilar, who represents much of the City of San Bernardino. “I will always prioritize our community and economic growth, and I look forward to working closely with our local government officials to secure more funding for San Bernardino.”

“For 90 years, the Roosevelt Bowl has been a treasured venue that has brought musical performances, plays, and cultural events to the residents of San Bernardino,” said Mayor Helen Tran. “Thanks to the work of Congressman Aguilar, we will be able to restore, renovate, and upgrade the historic Bowl for generations to enjoy.”

Mayor Helen Tran

Roosevelt Bowl to receive restoration and upgrades

The main structure, concession stand, restrooms, concrete and electrical work, access path restoration, lighting and sound system upgrades, installation of fencing, irrigation and landscaping restoration, and A.D.A. compliance upgrades are just a few of the improvements that will be made.

“San Bernardino residents have been patiently waiting for us to bring back the activities the Roosevelt Bowl used to host,” said 2nd Ward Council Member Sandra Ibarra. “Thank you, Congressman Aguilar. On behalf of everyone who misses the Roosevelt Bowl, you are helping to bring it back.”

While it will take about a year to finish the repairs, San Bernardino intends to resume its summer concert series at the Bowl in June.

Wrap Up!

Congressman Pete Aguilar has secured $1.4 million in funds to restore the historic Roosevelt Bowl in San Bernardino’s Perris Hill Park. It was built in 1934 as part of the Federal Work Progress Administration during the Great Depression; the outdoor arena was a popular venue for concerts, plays, and cultural events. 

San Bernardino officials had already allocated $600,000 in 2022 to clear the area, secure the backstage, replace fencing, and address electrical issues. 

The restoration will include upgrades to the main structure, concession stand, restrooms, electrical work, and access path. These renovations are expected to take a year, with the summer concert series set to resume in June.

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