City Council Set to Vote on New Amphitheater - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/17/03

City Council Set to Vote on New Amphitheater

The city's new amphitheater will be built in Mackenzie park. Joyland will be to its north and the new theater will be constructed just to the east of the South Plains Fairgrounds. But just a few blocks away, is the West Texas Canyon Amphitheater, bringing the question: Should the city build another one?

The groundwork for a new amphitheater is just weeks away. It's a venue, Lubbock citizens approved four years ago in a bond election. "Council has said all along. We're not going to spend any more money than the voters voted in 1999 and that's certainly our stand point today," says Mayor Marc McDougal.

On Thursday, City Council will put it to a vote and Mayor McDougal is confident years of waiting for a new venue will be over. "Council said six months ago when we looked at it is you have until the end of September and if we don't have the funds we need to move forward," says McDougal.

But thanks to city funds and private donations, council is ready to take the next step and start building. "It's around two million is what we're looking at tomorrow (Thursday). But that includes what the voters voted on and the grant funding Wells Fargo stepped up with some funds for naming rights," says McDougal.

But with the West Texas Canyon Amphitheater located just across the street, is the new venue really necessary? President of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Eddie McBride, says yes. "The amphitheater is gonna have the opportunity to attract a set of people both internally as far as giving us another venue for is to entertain ourselves with but it's also gonna be a venue that extracts people from outside of Lubbock to come in as well," says McBride.

McDougal says the new amphitheater will not be in competition with the West Texas Canyon Amphitheater. It's not expected to bring in big name performers, because it will hold a much smaller crowd, and host city events, like Fiestas de Llano, the Buddy Holly Festival and summer plays. "It's a smaller facility like music for 4th on Broadway festivities that type of venue," says McDougal.

If city council approves the construction bid, as expected groundbreaking should begin next month and will be complete by summer 2005. The name of the new theater will be the "Wells Fargo Next Stage." A musical written by local performer Andy Wilkinson will be one of the first acts to debut there.

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