Rogers, Arkansas -
ROGERS, AR (KNWA) - The Arkansas Music Pavilion – known locally as “the AMP” or "the Walmart AMP" has a new home nestled in the hills of Rogers near I-49.
The location is a prime spot for both travelers and locals looking for a great show and a lot of fun
After years at the Northwest Arkansas Mall and a few more at the Washington County Fair Grounds, the AMP needed to be revamped and relocated.
Walton Arts Center CEO Peter Lane says they knew what was necessary to make it all work, "We needed donated land, we needed lots of parking, we wanted it to be in a vibrant district."
Then, one afternoon organizers began driving around looking for a piece of land that fit the bill and that's when they spotted a nice piece of property belonging to Arkansas billionaire Johnelle Hunt. So they picked up the phone and asked about it. Soon, Mrs. Hunt along with business partner Jerry Walton decided the project was a good idea.
"We had always looked at that land and had an idea that, that was the type of thing that needs to be on that type of land," describes Hunt Ventures Chairman Johnelle Hunt.
Walmart AMP General Manager Brian Crowne recalls the excitement of that day and how quickly it all came together. "They called us about 15 minutes later and asked us to drop back by. And we went back up to the board room and Mrs. Hunt was there and we were kind of like what's going on? And they said would you guys consider building here? And we were amazed it would even be a possibility."
Mrs. Hunt donated the land along with a $3 million dollar interest free loan.
"To make the AMP happen here, which I think is absolute perfect location with the visibility and centrality of it's just been really excited to see it come up," says Jerry Walton of Hunt Ventures.
The project soon gathered another local company's attention.
"When we first heard about the project and with the grant from Mrs. Hunt giving the land, we just thought it was a great place for us to be involved," says Mark Henneberger, Vice President Of Shows and Events at Walmart. He adds that the world's largest retailer has signed on for the next decade.
"We contributed $2.5 million dollars for the project and for that, we get a certain number of dates each year to do private events and then we'll continue to try and come up with ways to do really cool public events as well here. Walmart's going to continue to be involved. I mean we have a 10-year commitment and when we get involved in something in a community, especially our own hometown, we are going to do it right."
And organizers couldn't agree more, "I think its just going to explode with the opportunity to see things we've just never seen before " says Lane.
Crowne adds, "We could not have landed at a more right spot for this venue. And having the opportunity to grow the scale of it, it will make it a better long term investment for the Walton Arts Center and the community."
The Willard And Pat Walker Charitable Foundation also contributed $2.5 million dollars and the project has also received support from several suppliers.
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