Permanent pavilion sketched into new plan for events site

By on November 13, 2013


Space for outdoor concerts is still included, but it would not be a permanent amphitheater. (Outer Banks Visitors Bureau)

Tourism officials have sidelined a permanent amphitheater and added a year-round pavilion in the latest plans for the Outer Banks Event Site on the Nags Head soundfront.

Lee Nettles, managing director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, said the changes were made in response to suggestions aired in a public meeting at the end of August.

Nettles presented the new plan to the Nags Head Board of Commissioners last week. The town and the bureau’s governing body, the Dare County Tourism Board, own the site where Windmill Point restaurant once stood.

In an overhead drawing, the event site looks like it’s been carved into crop circles. But each circular area represents a possibility for separate simultaneous events or, with accessibility linked by walkways, a single subdivided festival.

Several had questioned the idea of an amphitheater that would compete with the facility at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Sentiment also gravitated toward a permanent structure that would allow year-round events and eliminate the high cost of repeatedly renting a tent-like pavilion.

In the original proposals, the only permanent structure was a building with restrooms and an office.

Four concepts of what the pavilion might look like were presented to the commissioners. It would be at the north end of the 11-acre site and about 7,000 square feet with additional space for a restroom. It would probably have a permanent roof with drop-down sides for colder or inclement weather, Nettles said.


Concepts for the pavilion.

“There are those in the community that have a need for a large indoors facility — the Wedding Expo, Outer Banks Expo, Taste of the Beach,” Nettles said. ” You quickly get to four or five. But what about the other 360 days of the year?”

Nettles said a pavilion would represent a compromise between earlier plans for a brick-and-mortar multi-use facility and a desire to keep the area open for outdoor events.

One of the circles could still be set up as an amphitheater, but it no longer would be dedicated to that use. The plan also expands onsite parking from 300 to 464 spaces. That area could also be converted to event use.

Incorporated into the concept are elements for use of the site as a public park when events are not scheduled. A small playground and an access area for kayaks and kite boarding are shown on the Roanoke Sound shoreline.

A boardwalk is also a possibility.

Walkways weaving throughout the site will be a 12-foot width of paved surface expanding to 20 feet with reinforced turf along the edges, Nettles said.

Click here to see more on the plan »

Eventually, a traffic signal will probably be needed at the main entrance on Grouse Street at U.S. 158. The North Carolina Department of Transportation would have to make that decision, Nettles said.

After looking at a permanent multi-use facility and possibly a conference center and hotel, the tourism board opted for a 10-year plan to use the site for outdoor events and preserve views of the sound.

Next up is a review of the plan by the Tourism Board and decisions on how money should spent.

The board has spent about $120,000 for site improvements — leveling areas, filling holes and removing old electrical conduits — and has set aside $3.2 million for the project.

Overall, the recommendation from consulting firm VHB Engineering NC is to “grow as you go,” Nettles said.

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