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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Amphitheater/Bandshell Coming to Downtown Lake City: Committee Gives Final Approval

LAKE CITY, FL – Eight years after hiring IBI to develop a master plan for downtown Lake City, the Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee (CRAC) approved the design for an amphitheater/bandshell for Wilson Park in downtown Lake City.

On Wednesday, April 18, 2017, the CRAC met in a postponed meeting to accommodate Greg Bailey, the top man at North Florida Professional Services so that he could personally present what may be the centerpiece of the renovation of the Lake DeSoto area, the amphitheater/bandshell.

The amphitheater/bandshell was part of the Lake City Community Redevelopment Area Master Plan submitted in November 2011. (See page 19 of the Master Plan)

Mr. Bailey told the CRAC, which is chaired by Councilwoman Melinda Moses, "We've been working really feverishly pulling everything together. We have a lot of information to share with you tonight.

Mr. Bailey explained that the plan is "a concept that is more economical and will fit with the budget that you have now."


A bandshell with a barrel roof was rejected as being too expensive.

Mr. Bailey added, "If a benefactor wanted to make a donation, you could have naming rights and the name could be put on the amphitheater."

Mr. Bailed presented two plans for the bandshell: one with a straight line ridge and an arced front; the other with a barrel roof which would have added another $125k to the cost.


The committee approved a bandshell with a straight line ridge.

Location

The committee was not thrilled with the location of the bandshell.

Committee member John Kuykendall recommended moving the bandshell between the Darby Pavilion and the gazebo. He told the committee, "If you are going to get an event that is going to draw a crowd, then you need as much seating as you can get. To double the seating, I just like that better."


Graphic showing committee approved position of amphitheater/bandshell. NFPS graphic: modified to show move by the Observer

Committee member and Chamber Director Dennille Decker added, "The gazebo is not used for any purpose besides bums sleeping in it. It's nasty. It's always got dog poop in it. It takes up an area that could be used for other purposes. If it's [the bandshell] not going to be over the water, which we all thought, then let's make it straight on if we can."

She added, "Let's face it, the Darby Pavilion is really in the wrong spot."

Public Works Director Thomas Henry added, "We didn't own all the other property at the time."

North Florida's Bailey summarized the cost: "$1.19 million, bandshell - slight increase because of terraced seating; does not include lights and sound in the bandshell; curved barrel roof adds another $125k."

The Committee

Terraced grass seating with a concrete step was the seating design approved by the committee.

The bandshell was approved with the straight ridge line and the front overhang. While there was discussion about the barrel roof, there was not another $125k in the budget.

The committee approved a raised platform design with a split block front.

Epilogue

With the recent County 5 sleight of hand voting to move an $8,000,000 bank loan for a new administrative complex, which could have been built in downtown Lake City providing 300 more parking places in the vicinity of the Lake DeSoto redevelopment area, the County's elected leaders have doubled down on jails before progress, demonstrating their abandonment of the downtown and proclivity for backroom economic under-development.

Something to think about during election time. 

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