The City of Chesterfield is looking to get more noise out of its amphitheater by hosting a ticketed event this year in an effort to showcase the facility for private enterprises.
The city council approved pulling $35,000 from its park fund reserves toward hosting the private event at a recent meeting. Councilman Randy Logan said the idea is not for the city to become a full-time concert promoter, but the request still drew opposition from fellow councilman Barry Flachsbart, who voted against the proposal.
“I just have this uneasiness with us competing in the sense with the private organizations that might do things like that,” he said. Flachsbart added that his vote was “based on principal” and described his objection as mild.
Planning and Public Works Director Mike Geisel said the city has spent around $7 million on improvements to Chesterfield Central Park and wants to maximize its use. The idea is to have a mix of free, city-sponsored events and private shows that can make the 3,500-capacity amphitheater a regional destination.
“This place is the same size as The Pageant and there is no reason why we can’t host concerts of a similar ilk,” he said.
To that end, the one-time ticketed event, the details of which have not yet been announced, will serve as a way for the city to illustrate what the amphitheater is capable of with a maxed out show. As a new venue, Logan said the city hasn’t had “any numbers to show” to private enterprises interested in renting the space.
City officials emphasized that while as much as $65,000 could be generated from the show, the idea is not to turn the amphitheater into a source of funding. Geisel said it was unlikely that the amphitheater will ever even be a “break-even” venture for the city and that any revenue raised will be used to help fund parks programs.
“We want them to be affordable and we want to have a high degree of participation,” Geisel said.