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Warriors Path State Park marks grand opening of amphitheater with ceremony

April 23rd, 2012 9:31 am by Staff Report

Warriors Path State Park marks grand opening of amphitheater with ceremony

Warriors Path State Park will celebrate the grand opening of the amphitheater in a special ceremony at 11 a.m., April 23.

Photo courtesy of Earl Carter

Darrell Rice had a dream to build a place where all children, regardless of their abilities, could play together in Kingsport. Sadly, Rice succumbed to cancer in 2004, leaving volunteers such as Mary Steadman and Betty Devinney to carry on the dream.

During the last 10 years, their vision has been realized piece-by-piece, starting with the opening of the Warriors’ Path State Park Boundless Playground.

On Monday, April 23, Phase 4 of the project, the Palmer Center Foundation Amphitheater, celebrated the completion of the dream.

Phases two and three of the project included the opening of the Lion’s Narnia Braille Trail and the Anderson Tree House. All of the projects were designed to accommodate wheelchairs and children with sensory/developmental impairments.

"The Palmer Center Foundation Amphitheater, designed by Moore Group Architects, is located in a natural bowl within the park," said Betty Devinney, president of the Friends of Warriors’ Path."A semi-circle faces the stage where groups can listen to a lesson or watch a performance. It's wired for sound and features lighting throughout the facility."

To complete Phase 4 of the project, Friends of Warriors Path partnered with The Palmer Center Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia by awarding grants and scholarships. "The amphitheater and Darrell’s Dream Boundless Playground is a perfect fit for the organization as it supports their efforts to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities," said Linda Story, chairman of the Palmer Center Foundation board.

Devinney envisions school groups and public events utilizing the facility. She also stressed that it will be open to individuals and smaller groups to plan special events. Those interested in booking the facility for a special event can contact Warriors Path State Park at 423-239-8531.

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