Johns Creek makes statement with new pavilion

Concerts, farmers market, family reunions among uses for $808K Newtown Park addition

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Another addition to Johns Creek’s quality of life is nearing completion – the 500-seat Newtown Park pavilion/amphitheater.

The Johns Creek City Council authorized the construction of a pavilion in 2014 to provide space for family get-togethers, reunions and corporate outings. But the idea quickly grew – doubling the size – so that the community could get more use out of it.

Now, a pavilion with 4,800 square feet of covered space and a stage will open June 28 with a free concert by the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra.

“We want to be able to provide a Chastain [Park] kind of experience for our residents,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “Our first concern will be to have it up and running by June 28.”

Headley Construction officials say the project will be open on time, and indeed, the construction is nearly done with landscaping still to come. Headley was the low bidder at $808,000. The high bid was $1.3 million.

Public Works Director Tom Black said his staff began working on the project in response to repeated requests from residents for such a facility. The plans grew as it was decided to make the facility more versatile.

The pavilion sits in a natural bowl, so the idea of making it an amphitheater with four terraced levels to allow for lawn seating was added. The pavilion lawn seating will double the capacity as an amphitheater.

With the additional adjoining terraces, people can spread blankets and enjoy concerts or plays. The facility will be able to seat 252 for a dining event with tables or 528 seats under the structure with another 500 to 800 on the terraces. A sound engineer was consulted during the design and a sound system will be built in.

“We were able to use the last good piece of developable land in the park. We have already decided to add another use. It is perfect for the Johns Creek Farmers Market,” Black said. “It will be under the shelter in the shade so vendors won’t even have to put up tents.”

Bodker said he was excited about the opportunities for residents to use the pavilion.

“We plan a series of three concerts this summer. As its popularity grows, I think we will be able to have a mix of free concerts along with non-free concerts,” Bodker said.

But much of that is still down the road. Bodker said while it will be Chastain-like in its setting, it won’t be on Chastain’s scale. Chastain Park is 268 acres and its amphitheater seats 6,900. Newtown Park is 46 acres.

“We have to strike a balance. First, we want to be respectful of our neighbors, because this park is in a neighborhood. We don’t want to interrupt their lives or people using the park for other purposes,” Bodker said.

“This will be more intimate,” he said. “And it will be done right.”

Bodker also had good words for staff in finding the space for the pavilion.

“Newtown has the highest use of any of our parks, and JC 05-01-14so I have to compliment our staff for being so creative in the use of space,” he said.

Pavilion at a glance:

Opening concert June 28 – JC Symphony Orchestra

525 seats or table seating for 252

500-800 terraced lawn seats

4,800 square feet (80x60) covered space

Cost: $808,000

JC 05-01-14