Hewitt outdoor theater on hold another month

Due to hold-ups with the construction process, the opening of Hewitt’s new amphitheater at Warren Park will be pushed to mid-October as opposed to its original opening date. The amphitheater will be a site used for concerts, plays and weddings. Photo credit: Trey Honeycutt

By Lauren Friederman, Reporter

Plans to open the Hewitt City Amphitheater this week have been delayed due to issues obtaining concrete for the structure. The ribbon cutting ceremony is now expected to take place Oct. 22 barring any additional construction discrepancies.

“I can’t do anything yet,” said Hewitt City Manager Adam Miles. “I need concrete, then the electricity is coming right after.

Miles said he has a vibrant future in mind for the amphitheater, which includes outdoor events and renting the space as a wedding venue. Following the opening, the amphitheater will add a dressing room for brides and utility hookups for food trucks.

“The band could do a springtime in the park,” Miles said. “Or Shakespeare in the park or a ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

James Barton, Hewitt’s assistant city manager, said there are already events slated for next summer, including a concert series. One concert will take place per month, providing visitors with three to four concerts over the course of the summer.

Waynette Ditto, Hewitt library director, said the library will also be booking events with the amphitheater. “Story Times” have been booked for next year, where volunteers will read and perform for children.

“There’s no limit to the things we could do,” Miles said. “For Hewitt residents it may be exactly right.”

Miles said the amphitheater project is his brainchild. He said his hope for the outdoor theater is that it can breathe life into Hewitt’s pre-existing Warren Park.

“You look at the park and you ask, ‘How can you change the way this park is being utilized,’” Miles said.

This is not the first time Warren Park has been renovated. The playground was moved, and now drivers can see it from the road. This change created space for the new amphitheater, which will foster community and allow park-goers to utilize the park in new ways, Miles said.

“It’s changed a lot,” said Eva Greenup, a City of Hewitt building and inspection staff member. “It used to have the old metal type of playground, a merry-go-round, monkey bars and stuff like that. That’s about all there was.”

Miles said the recent updates to Warren Park, including the addition of the amphitheater, are expected to increase the number of visitors to the park and make it more accessible and enjoyable for the community.

“We’re not trying to do stuff that no one cares about,” Miles said. “We’re trying to do something that enhances quality of life here.”

The project has been underway since December 2014. Greenup said Hewitt residents have been anxiously awaiting its completion.

“We can’t wait,” Greenup said. “It’s been a lot of planning; it’s been the vision of Adam Miles and the council members for a very long time and now it’s coming into place.”

For the opening ceremonies in October, The Full House band is scheduled to play and Mayor Wilbert “Walky” Wachtendorf is expected to make a statement to those attending. Keep up with the story at cityofhewitt.com.