An application for a planned amphitheater in New Albany is headed to the city's architectural-review board at 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

The ARB is the only public board required to review and approve the application for the amphitheater itself, said city planner Stephen Mayer. New Albany City Council doesn't have to vote on the project design, he said, though some related legislation will be necessary.

The ARB already has provided feedback after an informal presentation during a workshop Aug. 12.

Craig Mohre, executive director of the New Albany Community Foundation, which is taking the lead on the project, said he hopes the ARB would approve the application Sept. 9.

The amphitheater is planned adjacent to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road, and the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus.

The foundation still is raising funds for the $7 million project, and it has received $5.2 million in commitments to date, Mohre said. The facility is expected to be named the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater in recognition of the Hinson family's $500,000 donation a few years ago, he said.

Mohre said he hopes to break ground this fall or next spring.

City Council on Aug. 6 set the stage for the amphitheater by approving a resolution authorizing City Manager Joe Stefanov to enter a lease agreement with the school district for the amphitheater land.

The school board Aug. 19 approved the lease agreement with the city.

The lease is for a term of 50 years, said Superintendent Michael Sawyers.

New Albany will pay a one-time fee of $10 for the lease, a requirement to make the agreement legally binding, Stefanov said.

Though the ARB is the only governing body that has to approve the amphitheater design, City Council still will have to approve some legislation relating to the project.

First, Stefanov said, city officials are in the process of negotiating an agreement with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which manages programs at the McCoy Center, to operate the facility. Legislation for that agreement could be presented in September, he said.

Stefanov also said he expects council members to discuss whether to make a monetary donation to the project during their annual capital-projects retreat in September. If they do decide to donate, he said, legislation would be necessary.

Within the next few months, Stefanov said, City Council also will have the opportunity to vote on legislation authorizing him to enter into an agreement with either the community foundation or the New Albany Community Authority, which is handling the construction aspect of the amphitheater, or both entities for the city to accept ownership of the facility.

Finally, Stefanov said, council members would have to adopt legislation to request disbursement of funds for a $1 million state capital grant the city received for the amphitheater project a few years ago. To receive those funds, he said, the city has to demonstrate that design plans and land have been designated for the project.

The lease agreement between the city and school district satisfies the land portion of that requirement, and the ARB's approval of the design would satisfy the other requirement, Stefanov said.

The facility's annual estimated maintenance cost will be $25,000 to $30,000, based on information provided by CAPA and the city of Westerville, which also has an amphitheater, according to City Council's Aug. 6 legislative report.

The community foundation sought a construction manager for the project in June, Mohre said. Corna Kokosing Construction Co. has been chosen, and a contract is in the works, he said Aug. 23.

The architecture firm for the amphitheater, DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky, showed renderings of how the amphitheater could look during the ARB workshop Aug. 12.

The facility would have about 800 seats, including lawn, VIP and exedra areas, said Todd Mayher, project manager associate with DLR Group. The VIP and exedra areas would be ADA accessible, and the lawn also would have an ADA-accessible area, he said.

The amphitheater itself is anticipated to be colored green, said DLR Group project manager Clyde Twine, and a vine system on the building facade would be expected to grow to maturity in three to five years. A trellis system that covers the exedra seating also should mature in that time, he said.

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