County development office receives grant for amphitheater project

Fred Pace

October 15, 2013

MADISON — The Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation to support the WaterWays Amphitheater Project.

“It is a pleasure to be able to assist your organization with this funding to benefit the work it is doing for the community,” said Sheri Ryder, senior program officer for the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

The BCCEDC is spearheading a drive to raise funding for the amphitheater with the goal to bring more cultural and performing arts activities to Boone County to help increase the quality of life for all citizens.

The county development office is partnering with the Boone County Commission and the Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission on the project.

The proposed amphitheater would be located inside the park, about a quarter of a mile from the entrance of the gate, just off Corridor G at Julian. Site construction costs are estimated at $350,000.

The Master Plan for the project calls for a 400 seat facility with room for expansion.

Other grant applications for funding have been submitted to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, First and Ten Foundation, and Alpha Natural Resources. A grant application also is being prepared for the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund through the West Virginia Development Office.

Boone County Commissioners, Eddie Hendricks, Mickey Brown and Atholl W. Halstead, also have committed to provide funding for the project as well as the use of its maintenance department to construct the stage and other amenities. Two state grants totaling $35,000 for equipment also have been awarded, thanks to Senator Ron D. Stollings (D-Boone).

“An amphitheater would be a great addition to the park with many local arts organizations pledging their assistance in developing plays, performances and related entertainment and activities in the future to bring even more tourists and visitors to Boone County,” said Larry V. Lodato, BCCEDC director.

From Memorial Day to early August, the Water Park attracts over 50,000 visitors annually. During the past five years, three new paved walking trails and a regulation size utility field have been constructed.

Assistant BCCEDC Director Kris Richmond said a recent public meeting was held with everyone in attendance agreeing that an amphitheater would be a welcome addition to the county’s economic diversification plans.