Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amphitheater Deal at Little Cost to Taxpayers Appears Doable

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amphitheater Deal at Little Cost to Taxpayers Appears Doable

Article excerpt

Now for an update:

You should know that it's looking more likely that a deal can

be worked out to build a new riverfront amphitheater that will

finally make Jacksonville a stop on the big-time concert


Right now, the site getting the most attention is Metropolitan


Under this proposal, a state-of-the-art, 18,000- to 20,000-seat

amphitheater -- with about 7,000 seats under a roof -- would be

built to replace the park's existing stage and amphitheater.

The first time this idea came up several months ago, it was

sort of like a car hitting a wall.

The current users of Metropolitan Park -- such as WJCT TV-7,

the symphony and, oh yeah, the regular folks who happened to

like the park they had helped pay for -- had some serious

concerns, to say the least.

In current negotiations with Cellar Door -- the concert

promotion company that is pushing the new amphitheater and wants

to operate it -- the city has kept those concerns in mind.

The city's position is clear:

A new amphitheater would have to accommodate such users as

WJCT's Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the symphony's Starry

Night Concerts.

The amphitheater's design and positioning also would have to

accommodate Kids Kampus, a complex that would feature hands-on

attractions for kids that the city is committed to build at

Metropolitan Park.

The public's access to Metropolitan Park also would have to be


Another possible stumbling block is the design of the


The gradual slope that would be needed for a 20,000-seat

amphitheater would require building a berm perhaps 30- to 40-feet


The city is insisting that any berm be built so as not to

destroy views of the river and to blend in with other park uses.

Then, as always, there's the rubber-meets-the-road question of


One figure being talked about is $11 million, with the city

putting up $7 million and Cellar Door the rest. …

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