JULIAN - Boone County has filed for and received an extension related to grants awarded via the West Virginia Development Office's Community Partnership Program.
The partially completed Water Ways Amphitheater project, which has seen multiple projections for a completion date, was developed in partnership with the Boone County Commission and the Boone County Parks and Recreation.
According to Regional Intergovernmental Council's 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which encompasses Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties, "The Boone County Commission and the Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission are partnering on the project with the goal to bring more cultural and performing arts activities to the area, and to increase the many activities planned for Boone County's major outdoor attraction."
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.
County officials cite prep work, 1000 feet of water line, drainage changes and electrical work as the primary sources of the delay. Officials say the extension is through the 2019 calendar year.
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 could absorb. Boone County Commissioner Brett Kuhn said he was aware of the extension application early last week. Kuhn expressed a desire to see the project completed.
"I know that our maintenance department is stretched very thin right now, but I would like to see us do everything that we can to complete this project," he said. "It would certainly be in our best interest to finish the amphitheater before the end of the year."
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