Arlington, VA

The Lubber Run Amphitheater will be open for performances later this summer thanks to the efforts of community members and county staff.

Just two months ago, a 107-page county-commissioned study suggested that it could cost up to $3.5 million to get the deteriorating amphitheater back up to current code standards. With tight county finances, amphitheater supporters feared that it could be years before the amphitheater would be restored and reopened.

Shortly after the study was released, though, a group called the Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation was formed and began arguing that only a few relatively inexpensive fixes were necessary to reopen the local landmark. As we found out at this afternoon’s County Board meeting, they were right and they were able to work with county staff to turn their convictions into action.

For less than $100,000 — the amount allotted by the County Board this year for a floodplain study — contractors will soon commence a number of repairs to make the 43-year-old amphitheater safer and more accessible. They will replace the wooden stage, replace area and stage lighting, purchase portable hearing devices, and install handicap-accessible parking spaces, portable restrooms and designated seating.

“With the community’s help, we have developed a plan to make the amphitheater a safe, seasonal venue for outdoor entertainment,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement today. “These basic repairs and modest improvements will make the amphitheater accessible to persons with disabilities and keep it in compliance with federal, state, and local guidelines for work in a 100-year floodplain and Resource Protection Area (RPA).”

Donnellan first announced the repairs at a Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation-sponsored meeting last night.

“To say they were thrilled was an understatement,” Donnellan told the board today. “This is not a perfect solution, but it is do-able.”

The repairs are expected to take until the end of July. After that, there’s ample money in the budget to fund outdoor programming at the amphitheater.

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