Olmsted County’s Parks department is looking forward to a new amphitheater at Chester Woods Park, pending a $338,800 grant. The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) will ask the Minnesota Legislature to approve funding recommendations through the Parks and Trails Legacy Funds.
The Olmsted County Parks department plans to use the amphitheater for public programming. Organizations around Southeast Minnesota would also have opportunities to provide education and entertainment in the amphitheater space. Programs could range from environmental education to outdoor training seminars to even yoga sessions.
“We would like to find and provide culturally diverse music, plays, and other entertainment from community groups that are aligned with One Olmsted – our county’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative,” said Olmsted County Parks Director Karlin Ziegler.
Ziegler plans to collaborate with Olmsted County Public Health Services on amphitheater programming specific to different community groups. One idea under consideration is hosting small acoustic groups at the amphitheater to play music for dementia patients.
If funding is approved, the amphitheater will sit on the southwest portion of the picnic and recreation area at Chester Woods Park. It would feature an 800 square-foot stage and seating for 125 to 250 people on limestone seats and grass terraces.
In the Chester Woods Park Master Plan, Olmsted County is also working to develop improved nature play and active recreation game areas in the next five years.