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City Pursues Amphitheater Idea
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
April 28, 2015

The city of Chillicothe is pursuing the idea of adding an amphitheater to one of its parks, largely funded through private donations. The amphitheater would, mostly likely, include a covered stage area that could be used for a variety of performances and room for seating. The Chillicothe Rotary Club approached the city with a desire to raise money to build the amphitheater. The group provided funds for a preliminary study that included a variety of architect renderings. Six ideas were presented to the Chillicothe City Council Monday evening, and the council gave a general consensus to further investigate design options along with cost estimates. The scope of the project could involve lighting and a sound system and could be phased in over time.

City Administrator Ike Holland stated that both Simpson Park and Danner Park were being considered for the amphitheater and that both parks had advantages as well as drawbacks. Danner Park, he said, is a "blank slate" with an already developed gradual slope that would lend itself well to an amphitheater design and has plenty of available parking. The park, however, is more of a sports complex, and sporting events could interfere with stage performances. Simpson Park is more of an established park that already hosts community events, such as the Chautauqua and car show. It also has established natural shade. The park, however, is in more of a residential area and has limited parking. The amphitheater could be located behind the maintenance shed in the park. The city administrator noted that most of the people he had talked with favored Simpson Park over Danner Park.

Council members agreed that they were in favor of further exploring the development of an amphitheater, stating that it could be an asset to the community. The administrator will report back to the council about projected prices and more detailed design options. The amphitheater would be built through private funds with the Rotary Club leading the fundraising campaign. The city would participate by providing labor, land, and continued maintenance. An amphitheater was not part of the park's master plan for the next 10 years.

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