News From Britt Hill – June 2017

The time has come. As you might know, the existing benches on Britt Hill provide seating for 662 and were installed in 1987. Today, they are in a state of severe deterioration due to weather and time, including eleven benches that had to be repaired and held together with duct tape to get us through the 2016 season.

Based on past demand for reserved seating and with an aging population, fewer patrons are willing to sit on the lawn which accommodates 1,538 patrons, and often demand for reserved seating outstrips supply by nearly double for a single event. In the fall of 2017, we are replacing the dilapidated bench seats and adding approximately 330 reserved seats for an aggregate of close to 1,000, while keeping the total venue capacity the same at 2,200. The beauty of the design is that it will have almost no impact on the current lawn seating because the bulk of the new seating will be constructed stage left, over the gully next to the fence line. The construction will also include the installation of new lighting, concrete stairs, aisles and landings as well as extensive landscaping. The redistribution of seating, together with the other upgrades, will lead to a better and safer volunteer, patron, staff and artist experience.

The Board and staff are highly committed to this project and have driven the planning process through their enthusiasm and practical analysis of community engagement, renovation costs, aesthetics, and quality control. Needless to say, we all realize the importance of maintaining the Britt Experience and Britt’s relevance to the economic vitality of Jacksonville and the region through this project.

Important capital improvement projects are marathons and require broad-based support. The budget for this construction project is $1,057,000. We already have $500,000 in commitments, and that leaves a lot more money to be raised. At the heart of the campaign is our new seat sponsorship program. When you sponsor a new seat, we will attach a highly-visible plaque with inscription of your choice to the backrest of one these new seats for a full decade. To ensure the most opportunity for all, we are offering five price-points to tailor fit your level of sponsorship. Please see the commitment form in our ad on the next page of this issue of the Jacksonville Review.

Kindly consider joining me and the Britt Board by investing in our future. We believe that by sponsoring a seat, or seats, you will help preserve the community spirit found at every performance on Britt Hill for many decades to come.