Strategically located in downtown Spartanburg, this magnificent seven-acre park houses the famous Zimmerli Amphitheatre, which serves as an outdoor theatre for musical, drama, and dance performances. The well-maintained picnic pavilion and several miles of the paved walk trail make the park even more exciting.
The park was named after William “Bill” Barnet, who purchased the land where it sits and donated it to the city council. He later served as the city’s mayor and oversaw the construction of the park.
Today, BarnetPark has been transformed into one of the city’s preeminent cultural destinations featuring a beautiful and interactive water fountain for kids to enjoy.
The Amazing History behind the Park
The exact location of Barnet Park was once a rundown field that no one ever imagined it could be transformed into such a beautiful park. The seven-acre land was a transport facility situated on a relatively busy thoroughfare cutting right through Spartanburg’s central business district.
According to Bill Barnet, the old kudzu field in the middle of the city never seemed right. So, he decided to purchase that piece of land and donate it to Spartanburg City Council management under strict instructions that it would be transformed into a park.
The primary objective was to do something dramatic and significant that could change the city’s fortunes. A few decades down the line, many people from different parts of the state and country appreciate the green space within the city.
A Unique Place to Tour
Bill Barnet’s vision turned out so well. Exquisitely landscaped with a wide range of fascinating amenities, the park adds tremendous benefits to the City of Spartanburg in terms of beauty and recreational value.
At the center of the park lies the Zimmerli Amphitheatre that provides an ultramodern outdoor theater for dance, musical, and a wide range of drama performances. It offers superb views with well designed 60-degree audience sightlines.
The natural setting of the amphitheater is reinforced with semi-circular terraced seating spaces of alternating grass and concrete. More than 100 lighting fixtures are strategically positioned above the giant stage and along the floor to highlight the performance area.
There are also two beautiful sculptures in the park. The first statue is nicknamed Exuberance, and is approximately six feet tall. It is made of pure bronze and was created by the famous New York artist named Richard McDermott Miller.
The statue shows a woman with fully outstretched arms. It took close to three years to complete and was officially unveiled in 1999 just before the park’s official dedication.
The second statue is nicknamed Circle of Friendship and was unveiled in 2001. It is also made of pure bronze, and depicts young children of different ethnicities clasping hands and playing happily.
This statue was created to showcase the beauty of humanity, cooperation, and interaction. Anonymous individuals funded the statue, but it was created by Gary Price from Utah. The statue honors the former city manager, Roy Lane, who died a few months before its official unveiling.
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