As the year draws to a close, the New Albany Community Foundation is just $1.3 million short of the estimated funds needed to build an amphitheater in New Albany.

Craig Mohre, executive director of the community foundation, said $3.7 million in fundraising has been identified; some of the money has been donated, while other funds have been committed, he said.

The amphitheater on the grounds of the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road, is estimated to cost $5 million, according to preliminary designs, Mohre said.

A more detailed design for the project is slated for the first quarter of 2018, which will give foundation officials a better idea of the cost, he said.

In recognition of the Hinson family's $500,000 donation toward the project, the venue will be named the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater, he said.

Mohre also said he has spoken informally with New Albany officials and Plain Township leaders about assisting with funding the project. Ideally, the two entities would partner with the foundation similarly to when the McCoy was built a decade ago, he said.

"I'm hopeful that the city and the township will participate in this project to some degree, as well," he said.

After design for the amphitheater is completed and fundraising has been established, New Albany can work through its own fundraising contribution, as well as ownership and maintenance agreements, said New Albany City Manager Joe Stefanov.

The goal is to create an arts district in New Albany that has a central Ohio draw, Stefanov said, with events held at the McCoy and the amphitheater.

"We have to really continue to develop the details," he said.

Although the city's planning commission and architectural-review board would at some point review the amphitheater's development plans, New Albany City Council would not have to vote on the project, Stefanov said. Instead, council members would review the design and provide informal feedback.

Plain Township leaders support the amphitheater project but no decision has been made as to how the township will contribute to the project, said Ben Collins, township administrator.

"The board of trustees is interested in the amphitheater and will consider how the township can best support the project," he said.

Collins said he plans in January to review with the trustees whether to offer funding assistance.

Scheduling the project

Mohre said carrying out construction of the amphitheater concurrently with the city's Rose Run stream-corridor project would make sense because the two projects would occur in the same vicinity.

"If we could do it in the next two years, that would be great," he said.

Rose Run flows mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany until it meets Rocky Fork Creek in the New Albany Country Club, not far west of Greensward and Harlem roads.

The stream-corridor project will include:

* Adding a pedestrian bridge to connect the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square.

* Reducing the width of Dublin-Granville Road, which runs east and west between Fodor and Main streets.

* Removing invasive species growing along the stream to create an area with a high tree canopy.

* Improving Rose Run Park, a mostly wooded area on the south side of Dublin-Granville Road east of Market Street.

The project could take 18 to 24 months to complete, Stefanov said.

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