Saturday, August 13, 2022

Want to catch the game? You might be able to on this big screen in Merchants Square

A screen set up in a downtown parking lot Thursday provided a look at the future of Merchants Square.

Colonial Williamsburg is seeking approval from the city to turn the P3 parking lot in Merchants Square — located between businesses including the Precious Gem jewelry store, Blue Talon Bistro, and The Shoe Attic — into a pedestrian-friendly public plaza, with seating and green space for visitors to relax.

The plans Colonial Williamsburg filed with the city also call for the placement of a large video screen for guest entertainment.

The foundation set up a 12’ x 10’8” LED test screen Thursday afternoon to demonstrate what plaza visitors may one day see. The screen backed up to North Boundary Street and was watchable from most of the parking lot.

Jeff Duncan, vice president of real estate for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, said the screen will show movies, broadcast live sporting events, and even stream events taking place elsewhere in Colonial Williamsburg.

For example, if the Kimball Theatre is sold out, guests may still be able to watch the show live in the plaza. The Summer Breeze Concert Series may also be piped in as it happens in front of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum.

The screen was transported in and supported by a trailer. Duncan said once Goodwin Square is complete, the trailer will not be necessary.

He added the screen was not in the exact position where it will eventually be installed, and the permanent screen will likely be slightly larger than Thursday’s demonstration.

Tentatively called “Goodwin Square,” Colonial Williamsburg’s plans indicate the square will be an “aesthetically pleasing and inviting space” that is intended to draw more visitors to Merchants Square.

The city’s Economic Development Authority approved more than $130,000 in demolition grant funding for the project earlier in October, pending approval from City Council.

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