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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Autos By Nelson - Click for Website
Harvester Performance Center on schedule for April 11 opening
Nearly 60 artists already on concert calendar
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Photos by Morris Stephenson: The glass door entrance of the Harvester Performance Center is shown under the steel framing. The sign will be placed on the standing concrete, facing Carter Bank and Trust.

Friday, April 4, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

Anyone driving through the heart of Rocky Mount over the past couple of weeks has noticed the bustling activity to finish the renovation of the new Harvester Performance Center on Franklin Street.

"We will be ready for the opening on April 11 with Levi Lowery and local musicians Scott Forry and Justin Arnett of Barefoot West," said Matt Hankins, assistant town manager. "We are excited to introduce the community and welcome visitors to the Harvester."

Clay Cook, who was to appear with Lowery on April 11, has a scheduling conflict with the Zac Brown Band of which he is a member, Hankins said.

Over the past few weeks, contractors have completed work on the wiring, plumbing, roofing, HVAC and mechanical systems, Hankins said. Still to be finished are the sidewalks, pavers, gutters and the canopy over the covered patio at the entrance.

Inside the building, contractors continue to work on the floors, elevator, painting, ceiling tiles, curtains and seating.

The only element that will not be completely finished by the opening is the staining of the concrete floors, a process that takes several days, Hankins said. The floors on the lower level, which are covered with vinyl composite tile, will be finished.

"I have worked closely with the contractors and venue manager to make certain everything gets done on time," Hankins said. "The advantage of hiring local contractors is they take pride in their work as members of the community."

As much of the renovation work as possible was done by local contractors, about 75 percent.

The total cost for the new performance center, which is in the old Lynch Hardware building, is estimated at $2.7 million, Hankins said. With a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and nearly $1 million in historic property tax credits, local taxpayers are funding less than 45 percent of the cost.

"We are still looking for sponsors and major donors to lower that cost even more," Hankins said.

The goal of the new performance center is to create an economic engine that contributes to the revitalization of Rocky Mount with nearly 175 performances each year. The performance center will make the town more attractive to restaurateurs, retailers and hospitality businesses.

The investment has already attracted a new bed-and-breakfast and a new restaurant to downtown Rocky Mount, both of which are expected to open later this spring.

"The town community development staff has had a significant increase in interest in other available properties, as well," Hankins said.

Scheduled performances at the center include a wide variety of musical genres, including classic country, reggae, folk rock, Southern rock, beach music and pop. Artists scheduled to appear in April include the Indigo Girls on the 24th, Jerry Douglas on the 25th, Carolina Chocolate Drops on the 26th and Rodney Crowell on the 29th.

Other performances will include The Wailers on May 9, Toad the Wet Sprocket on May 30, The Smithereens on June 13, Restless Heart on May 26, The Catalinas on July 3, Ty Herndon on July 24, The Mavericks on Aug. 6, The Lost and Found on Aug. 16, Gary Puckett & Union Gap on Sept. 17, and The Embers on Oct. 16.

Seating is general admission. Ticket prices range from artist to artist and can be found on the Harvester website at

"A lot of people outside our community will get to see what good old fashioned Franklin County hospitality is all about," Hankins said. "I know our residents will treat them right."

Penny Hodges - Click for Website
Billy and Julie Kingery - Click for Website
Angie McGhee-Quality Realty - Click for Website
Weichert - Click for Website
Robert Deatherage - Asst. Commonwealth Atty - Click for Website
Adam Lynch - Click for Website
PHOEBE NEEDLES - Click for Website
Harvester Center - Town of Rocky Mount - Click for Website
Alpine Photography Studios - Click for Website