Breaking ground

Grimes Farm to build outdoor amphitheater

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“This is a venue like no other in Marshalltown or Marshall County.”

These are the words of Mike Stegmann, who serves as the Marshall County Conservation Board Director. In a groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday afternoon at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center, Stegmann formally revealed the plan to construct the Leonard Grimes Memorial Amphitheater, situated on land behind the conservation center.

“When Grimes Farm was first being designed back in 2003, there was a plan to put in an amphitheater but it didn’t happen,” said Carrie Grimes Barr. “We hope this will be something that can increase the hosting of outdoor events.”

The three-level amphitheater will consist of quarried limestone seating for approximately 80 people, with room for lawn chairs if needed. The tiers will be equipped with LED lighting for nighttime usage. A raised stage will be covered with a cedar pergola with a fire pit in the center.

“The amphitheater will service outdoor environmental education programming put on by the MCCB. It will also be available for rent to the public,” Stegmann explained. “We have always used this space for outdoor events, but instead of people sitting in the grass, it will now be a finished space.”

Fundraising for this project is nearly at an end, but donations are still being accepted.

“With fundraising nearly complete, the MCCB was able to initiate the bid process in early July. Initial cost estimates came in at $150,000 to complete the structure after engineering costs of just under $7,000. The low bid for construction was accepted at $145,000 from Country Landscapes out of Ames.”

In addition, an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible sidewalk will be built, to the east entrance of the center.

“Additional funds are needed to complete the sidewalk,” Stegmann added.

Construction is set to begin this week, with the work slated for completion by the end of November.

An official dedication ceremony will be held sometime in the spring.

For more information, contact Stegmann at: 641-752-5490.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com