The Thomasville City Council awarded a contract Monday evening during their regular work session to CCH Construction of Thomasville for the construction of an amphitheater and trailhead. The amphitheater, a concept that was first conceived in 2014, and trailhead will together serve the community not only as the main entry point to the 15-mile-long multi-use trail, but also as a fully functional park and anchor the Creative District in downtown Thomasville.
“In 2014, a community design planning session known as a charrette was held to establish a master plan for the newly proposed Creative District in the area known as ‘The Bottom’,” said Lynn Williams, Assistant City Manager. “Through this collaborative process, the City worked with community partners that included the Center for the Arts, Thomasville Landmarks, and other parties with an interest in expanding the arts community in downtown Thomasville to fully develop the concept of an amphitheater as part of the trailhead.”
The Creative District bridges the areas between Broad Street to the West Jackson Street business district. It also serves as the main entry point to the multi-use trail, which will provide a venue for walking and biking, connect historic areas and parks, and provide connectivity for neighborhoods and business districts. Construction for the multi-use trail began in 2013; to date, more than 8,250 linear feet have been constructed.
Monday’s action by the City Council formally awards the $1.9 million contract that will allow construction on the trailhead and amphitheater to begin. According to City Engineer Jerry Pionessa, the project, which will be funded by the City of Thomasville, will include the amphitheater, public restroom facilities, landscaping, lighting, and improvements to Stevens Street.
“We’ve worked with a highly engaged stakeholders group to develop a design that not only serves the desired purpose of the space, but also compliments the existing architecture already found in this area of downtown Thomasville,” said Pionessa. “We’ve also included sufficient greenspace so that when not in use, the amphitheater facility will function as a public park that is aesthetically pleasing.”
Construction will take place primarily within the approximate one-acre site situated on S. Stevens Street and includes the reconstruction of S. Stevens Street from W. Jackson Street to Fletcher Street. During construction, this part of S. Stevens Street will be closed to traffic.
“Citizens should utilize alternate routes and avoid Stevens Street between West Jackson Street and Fletcher Street,” said Pionessa. “Once construction is complete, Stevens Street will reopen and remain a public street.”
The trailhead and amphitheater will feature space for live performances, public art displays, and other public events and gatherings in a true park setting. “We have many popular downtown events and festivals, such as Due South, Victorian Christmas and First Fridays, that can utilize the new amphitheater,” said Williams, adding that the space will also be available to the public.
“Just like with our Municipal Auditorium and public parks, the amphitheater will be available for organizations and groups to rent for performances or special events,” said Williams.
The project should be completed in April 2017, just in time for Thomasville’s annual Rose Festival.
“The amphitheater space is envisioned as an area to host community events and festivals, such as the Rose Festival,” said Williams. “It is fitting that Thomasville’s oldest and most beloved festival will have the honor as the inaugural event to be held in the new park facility.”