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November 14, 2017

Town considers donated amphitheater in park

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Warrenton United Methodist Church leaders want to build the amphitheater near the center of Eva Walker Park. It would have a stage of at least 28 by 26 feet, wings or storage and audience seating.
Parking will be a major consideration for the amphitheater’s proposed location in the downtown park.
This is an amazing public-private partnership that shows how successful the community events at Eva Walker Park have been.
— Councilman Sean Polster
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
A Warrenton church wants to build a public, outdoor performance space for the arts.

To commemorate its 200th anniversary next year, the Warrenton United Methodist Church has offered to build an amphitheater with a covered stage and audience seating in the town’s Eva Walker Park.

“An amphitheater will allow opportunity for entertainment, education and enrichment,” Jennifer McAndrew, the church’s anniversary committee chair, wrote in a proposal to the town council. “An amphitheater will attract neighbors from surrounding areas to visit, enjoy our hospitality, be entertained and find reason to return.”

Document embedded below.

Although it remains in the planning stages, the church has suggested the downtown park as a potential location. The town council ultimately would decide if and where the structure gets built.

Council members at last Thursday’s work session seemed open to the idea but expressed some concerns.

“The location eventually selected has to have ample parking,” Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) said. “I think it’s workable there (at Eva Walker), but that’s one hurdle we would have to get through.”

“I’m worried about seating, size and sound, plus parking, because there are neighborhoods around there,” Jerry Wood (Ward 1) said.

“We know it’s going to have to be a community effort,” Warrenton UMC Pastor Tim Tate told the council. “Our biggest thing is where can it be where there will be enough parking. That’s our biggest hurdle, and we’re looking for a way we can work with you on that.”

It could cost about $250,000 to build a stage with supporting wings or storage areas, according to Ms. McAndrew. The project could take place in multiple phases.

The church has applied for a $100,000 PATH Foundation grant to help cover costs. Church officials anticipate the congregation would donate another $100,000. The church also would seek contributions from other citizens and organizations.

If possible, church officials would like to begin construction next October.

The design would depend on the location, according to Ms. McAndrew.

“This is an amazing public-private partnership that shows how successful the community events at Eva Walker Park have been,” Councilman Sean Polster (At-large) said.

Warrenton’s Allegro Community School for the Arts and the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra also support the concept.

“We’re excited about giving back to the community,” Ms. McAndrew said.

The town council will continue to discuss the project and its location at its monthly meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 14.

WUMC_amphitheater proposal for Eva Walker_110917 by Fauquier Now on Scribd


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