Marion Within $1.5 Million Goal for Amphitheater Project

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter


By Ellen Kurt

MARION, Iowa - Marion is nearing it's $1.5 million goal for the Klopfenstein Amphitheater for the Performing Arts after receiving a $250,300 grant from Vision Iowa's Community Attraction and Tourism committee last week.

Vic Klopfenstein, former mayor and chairman of the fundraising efforts, said the project is within $100,000 of reaching its goal and there are still outstanding requests from private businesses that may fulfill that gap in the next few months.

Mike Carolan, director of Marion Parks and Recreation, said the Lowe Park project is being funded through private donations, city, county and other grants. The breakdown of funding includes: $750,000 from city and local option sales tax; $75,000 from Linn County; $25,000 from the Marion Parks and Recreation Foundation; $55,000 from private donations; $150,000 from Hall Perrine Foundation; $250,000 from a Great Places grant; and the $250,300 from Iowa Vision.

The Marion City Council will approve resolutions Thursday regarding the amphitheater's development plan and bids for construction of the project will go out in the next few months, Carolan said. Barnes Manufacturing in Marion was approved last month as the metal fabrication company to construct the steel sculpture of the canopy over the stage which is designed like large oak leaves.

The amphitheater, which is an addition of the Arts and Entertainment Center, will provide a musical and theatrical venue, but will also be available for wedding rentals and other events, Carolan said. Construction will start this summer and the expected completion of the project is in December.

The name of the amphitheater was approved earlier this month. Vic and Pat Klopfenstein are lifelong residents of Marion who have been actively involved in the community and served on various boards over the years. Vic Klopfenstein was the mayor for 16 years and served on the city council for 18 years.

The Klopfensteins said they were surprised with the honor of having their name on the amphitheater.

"We were out of town and didn't attend the board meeting," Vic Klopfenstein said. "I didn't find out until afterwards. They really surprised me on that one."

John Vernon, with the Marion Parks and Recreation Foundation, proposed the name of the amphitheater to the city council.

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