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Sen. Higdon, Rep. McCoy respond in joint statement to amphitheater closure

 

NC GAZETTE / WBRT RADIO
STAFF REPORT

Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 — The message from local leaders this past week regarding the closure of the J.Dan Talbott Amphitheatre at My Old Kentucky Home State Park was clear: “We’re on it.”

MAYOR DICK HEATON

Mayor Dick Heaton and Judge Executive Dean Watts were both interviewed on a special Friday morning edition of WBRT’s “Bradford & Brooks” radio show, and the two leaders said they drove to Frankfort Wednesday to pay personal visits to agency representatives to seek a path forward to resolve safety concerns about the amphitheater.

Heaton and Watts said they are working with legislative leaders, including state Sen. Jimmy Higdon and state Rep. Chad McCoy, in seeking short-term and long-term solutions.

Higdon and McCoy released a joint statement Friday, calling on the community to come together to help and support the Stephen Foster Story, which the men said has been taken for granted by the state.

“We now have a crisis due to the fact that the amphitheater has fallen into an unsafe condition,” the statement read. “We were delivered a load of lemons this past week and it is now time for the community to come together and make some lemonade.”

State funding to build a new facility would take at least two years for planning and appropriations for funding. This would mean at least a two-year period during which the park would not host the drama association’s summer stage presentations and the popular Live at the Park concert series.

JUDGE EXECUTIVE DEAN WATTS

Behind the leadership of Watts, Heaton and other local leaders, plans are being developed that will allow the show to continue while long-range plans are created to address the facility’s eventual repair or replacement.

During the interview on WBRT Friday, Watts said he would like to see the state allow the facility to be leased to the county or another organization in order to allow immediate work to begin to address the current safety issues. Watts said he believes there’s sufficient time to have the immediate repairs addressed in order to allow the facility’s use prior to the drama’s opening night next summer.

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