Bryant Commons Joint Management Board members met with an acoustics engineer Thursday to sound out concepts for an amphitheater in Hinesville’s Bryant Commons.
“We’re here to find out what type of amphitheater we want,” said project manager Marcus Sack, a design engineer with Hinesville-based P.C. Simonton and Associates.
Sack introduced consultant F. Rogers Dixson Jr., president of Atlanta-based Cape Dixson Associates, a firm that specializes in acoustic and audiovisual building technology.
Dixson asked board members how they envision the amphitheater, if it should be built in phases, the types of events the facility should handle and what were the project’s budget restrictions. The city received a $500,000 OneGeorgia Equity grant for the Bryant Commons park project in December. The city pledged to use the grant to build a 1,500-seat amphitheater within the 150-acre property. The total cost of the project is estimated at $6.2 million.
An amphitheater would provide the community a space for concerts, plays and educational events, and help draw more visitors to Liberty County, city officials have said.
City Manager Billy Edwards stressed the amphitheater should be built to keep the noise as non-intrusive as possible for nearby residents.
Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Vicki Davis said once the board has a better idea of the direction the amphitheater will take, they will meet with Timberlane Circle and Pineview Street residents for their input.
Some of the neighboring residents have protested the Bryant Commons project, and expressed their concerns over excessive noise, increased traffic and security at a forum last month.
Dixson and Sack showed board members several examples of amphitheaters.
Most board members said the amphitheater should be multi-purpose, to serve as a place for families to gather even when an event is not being held.
“I see it as a place for citizens to spend time with their families on a Saturday afternoon,” County Commissioner Donald Lovette said.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas suggested the amphitheater be built so it can be expanded in the future. He said perhaps adding a detachable stage and acoustical panels would make the facility more flexible. Thomas said he’d like to see the amphitheater accommodate large events similar to the annual Fourth of July concert sponsored by Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Fort Stewart.
Guy Johnston, a director-at-large for the Independent Telephone Pioneer Association, said the amphitheater should be Byrant Commons’ focal point.
“We want traffic,” Johnston said. “We want more people to visit the (Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association) museum.”
The museum was once the home of the late Glenn E. and Trudie P. Bryant. The building is also the national headquarters for the association.
In addition to the amphitheater, the city plans to construct a 15-acre man-made lake, walking trails, a pavilion, picnic areas and a play structure and renovate existing buildings on the site.