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Planned amphitheater could cost $2 million

October 10, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Plans are progressing for a proposed 1,200-seat amphitheater at Sam Michaels Park that will cost about $2 million to construct, officials told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday.

Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Department officials began talking about the amphitheater last spring, but said then it was unclear how much the facility would cost.

Parks and recreation officials said Thursday the amphitheater will cost about $2 million to construct and they plan to seek the funding through grants, philanthropic organizations, nonprofit groups and the private sector, said Mike McDonald, a member of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation.

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Parks officials plan to seek a portion of the funding for the amphitheater from the county commission, McDonald said.

Commissioner James G. Knode said he has been talking with someone who is interesting in doing grant writing for the county, and perhaps the person could work on the amphitheater project.

McDonald and Parks and Recreation Department Director Tim Barr showed the commission a sketch of the proposed amphitheater.

The sketch shows the facility surrounded by 500 permanent seats, with room for about 700 seats in the grass, McDonald said.

Earlier plans called for about 500 fixed seats and 300 seats in the grass.

The amphitheater would be located in the same location where live music is offered during the annual Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival at the park, which is off Job Corps Road.

The location is a naturally shaped bowl area, which "makes it almost perfect" for the amphitheater, McDonald said.

McDonald said he also wants to install projection screens on both corners of the amphitheater to improve visibility of the acts.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan congratulated McDonald and Barr on the planning that has been done so far.

"I'm impressed with the scope of your plans," Morgan said.

There are three different levels of entertainment acts parks officials could choose from for the facility. The bottom level would be local bands, the middle level would attract more regional acts and the top level would attract Grammy-winning artists, McDonald said.

Parks officials have decided to design a facility for middle-level acts.

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