The City Council on Monday got a first glimpse of Clark Patterson Lee’s design of its City Center Park Expansion & Amphitheater.
The expansion and amphitheater are projected to cost about $2.2 million and, upon the council’s approval, would be funded with the same bond the city plans to issue for the first phase of the Towne Lake Parkway/Arnold Mill Road widening project.
The bond would be repaid with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue beginning July 1, 2012.
City Manager Jeff Moon said the city will now move forward with requesting proposals for construction of the expansion and amphitheater.
He said he anticipates the bid coming back before council in October and construction could begin in November.
The timeline for construction is about nine months, Moon added.
The design shows the expanded park to include a civic lawn, terraces, a concessions building, a concessions plaza, wheelchair accessible entrances and exits and a permanent bandstand with a cover in the southeast corner of the park.
K. Scott Gordon of Clark Patterson Lee said he wanted to incorporate the historic cotton mill architectural structure incorporated into the Woodstock Downtown development.
The amphitheater would be used to house the city’s annual Summer Concert Series, which have consistently grown in popularity.
The greenspace in the area is large enough to hold between 3,000 and 4,000 people.
The design includes incorporating the current gazebo into the plan, but Moon said the base of the gazebo needs to be repaired or rebuilt.
Talks of an amphitheater in downtown were generated in 2009, as the city began to see more people flock to its summer concerts.
It was propelled by the city in 2010, after demolishing its former Municipal Complex building on Arnold Mill Road.
It was also used as a selling point of the city’s bid to have the Georgia Music Hall of Fame move to the city.
City Councilman Chris Casdia, who noted the plan was “fantastic,” was skeptical about the projected cost. He wanted to know if there were places the city could cut to scale back the price tag.
Councilman Randy Brewer responded that the city could cut back in some areas, but could potentially end up paying for “cutting corners” in the future.
He cited the city’s need to refinance existing debt for the installation of a grit chamber and other upgrades at the sewer plant as an example of the city neglecting to take care of problems the first time around.
However, Mayor Donnie Henriques and other council members noted the estimate of the project’s cost is nothing new, as it was discussed during the council’s retreat in February.
“This should be a showcase destination for the city of Woodstock,” Henriques said. “This should be an investment rather than expenditure.”
Parks and Recreation Director Preston Pooser said citizens eventually “won’t have to pay a dime” for operations as the city hopes to allow for naming rights and pouring rights at the expanded park and amphitheater.
Pooser added he expects to receive between $75,000 and $100,000 annually in sponsorships once the project is completed.
Councilman Bud Leonard praised the work Clark Patterson Lee did on the design.
“I really think we are getting a lot of bang for our buck,” he said.