AMESBURY — The Upper Millyard and the Al Capp Amphitheater are in for a major facelift after the city received more than $38,000 from the state Department of Transportation to reinvigorate the downtown space.

Community and Economic Development Director Angela Cleveland applied for a Shared Streets & Spaces grant from MassDOT, which netted the city $38,316, according to a press release from Mayor Kassandra Gove's office.

The grant will be used to add eco-friendly playground equipment as well as an outdoor fireplace for year-round gathering in the Upper Millyard/amphitheater area, according to the mayor's office.

The money will also be used to paint eight crosswalks in the downtown area; install Wi-Fi and a solar-powered charging station; add a bike corral; and install shade sails and string lights to add ambiance to the amphitheater area.

Cleveland will be taking the lead on the overall project, working in partnership with the city's Public Works and Information Technology departments as well as Gould Insurance, CommStat, the Amesbury Cultural Council and the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce.

Gove said in the press release that she is excited to see the state help Amesbury with an underutilized space.

"The Al Capp Amphitheater is a natural center for our city, a gathering place for families, friends and colleagues," she said. "The additions that we'll make with this grant funding will positively impact how people spend time downtown, helping to increase foot traffic for our businesses. When complete, it will be a wonderful addition to Amesbury's environment."

Cleveland said in the press release that Amesbury's project will be a "unique and important treasure."

"This grant will allow us to adapt the amphitheater quickly to create a COVID-friendly, outdoor haven for eating, playing and working accessible to anyone and everyone," Cleveland said. "In addition, this funding will reconfigure the travel ways to access this special place with spruced-up crosswalks and brand new bike racks. We can't wait to reintroduce people to a four-season plaza in the center of our beautiful city."

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