“This is a great day for Merriweather Post Pavilion and for the community,” County Executive Ken Ulman said.
The FY 2015 budget allocates funds to set in motion the $19 million renovation project at the concert venue, which opened in 1967 and Ulman said has been deteriorating.
Planned renovations include a raised roof, new seating, new restrooms and concession facilities to occur during five off-seasons, according to a statement from the county.
Merriweather's owner, the Howard Hughes Corporation, entered into a memorandum of understanding with Howard County government and the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission stipulating that Howard Hughes would finance the first half of the renovations, starting at the end of the current concert season, Howard County reported.
A loan from the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission to Howard Hughes would finance the second half of the renovations, according to Ulman.
In the FY 2015 budget, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission was provided $9.5 million in grant funding, which will be held in a trust until spent and will be available after Howard Hughes spends $9.5 million for the renovations, Ulman said Wednesday.
In 2019, Howard Hughes will transfer ownership of Merriweather to the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, according to Ulman.
"This is one of the finest concert venues in the nation," Ulman said, "and we have ensured its viability for decades to come."