Contract Awarded For Neuse River Amphitheatre Renovation

The Master Plan for the Neuse River Amphitheatre approved May 2022 by the Smithfield Town Council.

SMITHFIELD – Following nearly three years of discussions, the Smithfield Town Council has awarded a contract to renovate the Neuse River Amphitheater.

The council awarded a design-build contract to Balfour Beatty Construction LLC for design services and the renovation and construction of the new amphitheatre. Smithfield Parks & Recreation Director Gary Johnson said Town Staff, including the Parks & Recreation Department, Planning and Town Engineer, felt the design-build process was the best option. Under the design-build process, the total budget is set in advance and the project is designed to be completed for that amount. Designers and contractors are selected as a time and work jointly, Johnson explained.

The company has a lot of experience with projects in the area. In 2020, Balfour Beatty Construction completed the Town of Clayton Harmony Park in 8 months at a cost of $1.5 million. They are currently working on the Town of Clayton Municipal Park with estimated completion in June 2022 at a cost of $6.5 million.

The Town of Smithfield will pay for the construction from funds awarded in a SCIFD grant from the State of North Carolina. The grant award was $989,000. The total project cost is $989,500.

Neuse River Amphitheater. 2019 Johnston County Report Photo

The structure was built in 1987 and stays wet and has been difficult to maintain because of ongoing drainage issues. Flooding has also damaged the stage floor, roof, and electrical components.

In October 2019, when the Town Council first discussed spending upwards of $1 million to renovate the amphitheatre, (former) Councilman Emery Ashley said it had flooded 10 times in 5 years and no one could build a house on the property.

During the same meeting three years ago Councilman Travis Scott said, “It’s a great idea but the wrong location. If we’re going to invest this money we need to have it in an area that’s substantially safe and this isn’t substantially safe.”

At their May 2022 meeting, the council voted 7-to-0 to renovate the amphitheatre at the same location. The stage area will be elevated to help address flooding concerns.


    • Not really a waste of money. Gives the community a nicer place to host music events, smaller bands a place to play that won’t cost as much as somewhere bigger, and if it’s done nice could attract bigger name artists to play there.

  1. I wonder if they are going to put it on pontoons? After all when it floods it’s usually underwater. Wait, will the regular flooding damage the renovations? Hmmmm I hope they thought of that.

  2. have they thought about how high they are going to have to elevate it. I’ve seen the river up to the bottom of the log cabin…why not build it on the street side level with the street???? people could have there lawn chairs where the stage is now..if the river is high you are now going to have to cancel anyway….

  3. Balfour Beatty is a solid company. We worked with them on several projects when I was in commercial construction. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  4. Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of an amphitheater but it seems like a waste of money for an area that floods so much. I know they are looking at raising it , but then are you filling in the flood zone… only to make the nuese flood somewhere else. If they elevate by just puting stilts under it then then isn’t that defeating the idea of an amphitheater. Just don’t see the logic behind spending that much money only to have to do it again.

  5. Another $1million spent on a project in a flood zone to be washed away the coming years. It seems none of our elected officials have common sense. But we the voter keep electing them, I guess we don’t have common sense either.

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