Lawmakers approve more funding for Columbus’ amphitheater

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Mississippi Legislature is pumping another $1 million into the still unfinished Terry Brown Amphitheater at the Columbus Riverwalk.

Lawmakers approved the additional funding this legislative session.

The project has been in the works for more than seven years and has hit more than a few snags.

Since 2017, the city of Columbus has spent more than $3 million to build an amphitheater along the banks of the Tombigbee River.

Since then, the construction has been hit by setbacks due to flooding damage, halted due to lack of funds, and suffered vandalism.

A proposed opening date of October 2023 passed without the gates opening.

This year the state Legislature approved an additional $1 million in funding for the venue.

Ward 5 City Councilman Stephen Jones said that money is a signal to resume work and get the project over the finish line.

He said the goal is to have a strong start and a big impact.

“We are going to open it up the right way because the first impression is everything,” Jones said. “So, we want to make sure it is going to draw in a crowd from Tupelo, Noxubee County, Starkville West Point. We want to make sure that it is going to draw real crowds over to our area and that they are going to be spending money in our restaurants.”

Salem Gibson is the Executive Director of the Columbus Arts Council.

His organization is always working to bring quality entertainment to the City of Columbus and the surrounding area.

“We are excited, we are ecstatic to have the amphitheater start to open and start to be available for events,” Gibson said. “I think it brings a lot of opportunity to bring big acts in Columbus which is entertainment and quality of life which is something we are involved with in the arts and it’s just a really great thing to be able to open up that experience to other community members as well.”

He is thrilled to see the amphitheater closer to becoming reality.

“I think it’s a major stepping stone to making us relevant as a small town,” Gibson said. “But, also creating an atmosphere where things can happen. The sky’s the limit on what can happen there from concerts to movie nights, we’ve done sounds of summer for years, and Columbus has been a part of that. So, to be able to know have a home for it can create. The sky’s the limit for opportunity.”

Jones said the council will have a plan to get the amphitheater open as soon as they can.

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