LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let's not move so fast on amphitheater
To the Editor:
I read with dismay the decision of the Mineral County Parks and Recreation Board to dismantle the amphitheater at Larenim. I, like countless others in this area, have been entertained by a variety of productions, including the historical portrayal of McNeills Rangers and as well as classic Broadway plays featuring this region’s talented actors and musicians.
Understandably, if the amphitheater is unsafe and beyond repair, then steps must be taken to rectify the problem. However, before that occurs, there are some obvious questions that should be answered. One, why was the theater area allowed to become unkempt and a dumping ground without being maintained?
The article also mentions the difficulty of obtaining grants. Having written a number, I can testify to that, but have any efforts been taken to investigate or obtain grants?
Tourism is a hot topic in West Virginia right now, and repairing the Larenim Amphitheater might fulfill a number of grant requirements. Mineral County now has an active Convention and Visitors Bureau working to promote tourism, and it would be an excellent resource to assist in visioning the future of the theater.
Foremost, before any decision is finalized, it seems prudent to have a structural engineer to determine if the theater can be saved, and if not, what would be cost of replacing it. (The Board may have this information, but it was not mentioned in the article).
The amphitheater coupled with the improvements at the Melvin Brown Arboretum could showcase Mineral County’s assets and commitment to the arts, culture and nature. As a plus, the county could no doubt reap financial rewards by using the facility for music festivals and other income generating productions.
Before the bulldozers strike, please gather all the necessary information and provide the public with your findings.
Dinah W. Courrier