Huber Heights plans free festival for new amphitheater

The Eichelberger Amphitheater at The Heights is on schedule to open Labor Day weekend, and the city of Huber Heights hopes that the festivities are the beginning of what will be another successful facility at its recreation complex.

The eight-acre, $1 million amphitheater — paid for out of a regular TIF fund set up in April 2003 and helped by a $150,000 donation from the Eichelberger Foundation — is the final piece of the city’s 35-acre complex on Brandt Pike that also features the Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights and the YMCA.

The amphitheater will seat 350 in its tiered-grass elevation seating, but the grassy areas expand capacity to up to 1,000 people.

“We believe the amphitheater will help make the park a well-rounded park to appeal to all ages,” City Manager Jim Borland said. “We’re all excited about this. We’ve never had an amphitheater before. It’s going to be a great addition to our park there, and we look forward to opening it.”

Project manager Ken Conaway said the amphitheater is “really close” to being finished, with landscaping done this past week and some masonry work to be completed in the next few days.

“This gives the complex a feature that rounds out its appeal,” Conaway said. “We’ve now got something to fill the gap to what the pool doesn’t satisfy.”

Operated by the YMCA, the amphitheater could host events such as concerts, plays, art and music festivals, school events, movie nights, weddings and Sinclair-related lectures. Nothing else has been scheduled for the facility, according to Judy Wheeler of Joint Venture Advertising, which handles the marketing.

Previously, $25,000 had been approved by the city to market the amphitheater. The city, though, anticipates only spending $21,890 — with the biggest chunk of that being $10,000 to promote opening night with Clear Channel.

Opening night is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1, with the regional band Stranger performing.

Admission and parking are free, but a ticket is required to enter the fenced-in area in front of the amphitheater stage. Those without a ticket will still be able to view the concert from surrounding grassy areas.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the concert is at 8 p.m. The rain date is Sept. 8.

A limit of four free tickets per person will be distributed at three locations by MIX 107.7 beginning today at the Heights Farmers and Artisans Market, 6178 Chambersburg Road (10 a.m. to noon); the aquatic center, 8625 Brandt Pike (noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday); and Kroger, 7747 Troy Pike (noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 26).

Also, free tickets to Huber Heights residents only with identification will be handed out from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 28 at city hall, 6131 Taylorsville Road.