HEFLIN — A new amphitheater for Cleburne Countians to gather for music and other events will open next month at the corner of Ross and Burns streets, according to Heflin’s economic developer, Tanya Maloney.
The multi-use amphitheater, sporting a covered bandstand and two levels of grass where visitors can sit, will be used for many of the city’s existing and planned events, Maloney said.
Maloney, along with Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks and retired educator Rudy Payne, went to the unused piece of city property last year to brainstorm projects which could benefit the community.
The group thought about making a sitting place with swings but that idea was nixed.
“Are you really going to drive downtown just to hang out and swing right here? Just to sit?” Maloney said.
“Let’s do something fun that’s going to bring people downtown to have a good time and linger longer in our downtown area,” Maloney said.
So the idea of the amphitheater was born.
The amphitheater was made possible by grants and donations, according to Heflin Main Street Chairman Kari Payne.
A “place-making grant” was received from the Main Street organization’s national and state arms, according to Payne.
Payne said that place-making means “a space for people to gather and enjoy each other and to come together as a community in a public area.”
That grant was for $1,500, and Heflin’s Main Street chapter had to match the grant within a certain time period.
“By the end of the period that we were supposed to raise money, we had raised $10,000,” Maloney said.
Another grant, for $5,500, came from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
Main Street committee members pushed for donations from inside and outside the county to come up with the $55,000 needed to complete the project.
Maloney said fencing around the amphitheater — which is being built by the Heflin Street Department — is the only part of the project on which taxpayer dollars are being spent.
Maloney said that the various contractors who built the amphitheater are all from Cleburne County.
The ribbon-cutting for the amphitheater will be Oct. 4 to coincide with Cleburne County High School’s homecoming festivities, which have all been moved to downtown Heflin, Maloney said.
Maloney said that the city hopes to bring back the Art Council’s Music In May event now that the amphitheater is available.
The amphitheater, which will be used for events during the year, is also available for rental to various groups.
At some point in the future, Maloney hopes to buy a sound system with another grant, but for now, she said, only a couple of finishing touches remain. Those include fencing and a mural on the back wall of the amphitheater, she said.
Payne was glad that something creative was done with the property.
“That is what Heflin Main Street is about — creating that space and supporting our local community,” Payne said.