JULIAN — The Boone County Commission gave an update on the construction of the new Water Ways Amphitheater, and fundraising may be the key to putting a lid — or, literally, a roof — on the project.
Boone County Maintenance Director Kerry Dickens spoke about the progress.
“We’ve got the structure up and the floor is completed and utilities are ready, so it could actually be used now,” he said. “We’ve talked about having some kind of fundraiser and we could get the roof on and the backdrop in during the spring.”
Grant monies related to the extension include two grants for $20,000 each and a third for $15,000 from the West Virginia Development Office’s Community Partnership Program. Other secured funding included a $75,000 grant from West Virginia Cultural Facilities and Capital Resources, a $75,000 grant from Economic Development Assistance Funds and $15,000 from the First and 10 Foundation.
With Boone County’s recent budget crunch and subsequent layoffs of county employees via a near 30 percent cut in budgets for elected officials’ offices, the county has not completed the project, but commissioners said during the Boone County Commission’s last session on Nov. 19 that private contributions may be the key to seeing the finished product.
The Boone County Commission confirmed that grant requirements for the project have been satisfied.
“The grants are done,” Commissioner Craig Bratcher said.
Officials estimated that the project is approximately 90 percent complete.
In June, a West Virginia Development Office representative cited that the stage portion of the amphitheater is what the agency had directly funded. The office also stated that the grants cover five years, but devalue due to inflation and that the longer a project takes to complete, the more out-of-pocket expenses the county would absorb.
Boone County has filed for and received at least two extensions related to grants awarded via the West Virginia Development Office’s Community Partnership Program.
Currently, no fundraising events for the project have been scheduled.