Sunday, August 2, 2009

Amphitheater Indecision 2009 – Motion to Reconsider

Elmwood Park Amphitheater Site

Elmwood Park Amphitheater Site

Joyce Waugh gets “another chance.” Waugh, Chamber of Commerce President and Doug Waters, acting President of DRI, Inc are pressing the flesh to have City Council reconsider (for a third time) the July 20th Council decison. Council on a 4-2 vote dropped the amphitheater from the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan. Mayor Bowers seems to think with Councilman Dave Trinkle back from vacation for Monday’s meeting along with a change-of-mind by at least one other Council member the $1.2 million for the design phase can be found to move the project foward.

Related Article: Victory Stadium Has the Last Laugh as Mason Leaves the Building

From the April 6 Article: Elmwood Park Favored for Amphitheatre a Second Time 

The bottom line according to MacDonald was that the Elmwood Park location would produce a patron experince resulting in more money spent downtown. “The economic activity has so much more potential than at Reserve Avenue,” said MacDonald.

To the economics of the amphitheatre and its ability to support without subsidy MacDonald and Hutto said careful event planning such as having a car show then booking “Jan and Dean” would increase appeal. For those of you who ask “what is a Jan and Dean?” Does “Dead Man’s Curve” or “The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)” ring a bell or rather crank your engine?

Ice skating in the winter months could even be added using a third party said MacDonald.

The park would be open all day everyday.

Kirby Hutto, general manager of the Charlottesville amphitheatre backed up MacDonald when asked if  Roanoke could support Amphitheatre venues – both commercial and community events. There had been some concern on the Elmwood site continuing to host events like Local Colors.  MacDonald said it could easily be used for both.

The question before Council on July 20 was to adopt the 5-year CIP plan that included amphitheater design in 2010 with construction of the amphitheater beginning in 2013. The original question (CIP with amphitheater) was amended by removing the amphitheater from the 5-year plan.

According to Roberts Rules of Order the motion to reconsider needs to pass with a majority vote.  If, after the vote has been taken on the adoption of a main motion, it is desired to consider the vote on an amendment, it is necessary to reconsider the vote on the main question also, and one motion should be made to cover both votes. It would be something like “I move to reconsider the votes on the resolution relating to the adoption of the 5-year Capital Improvement plan and on the amendment to remove the amphitheater from the CIP.” (Bowers knows his Roberts Rules of Order.)

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City Council’s Amphitheater Decision Disappointing for Joyce Waugh – July 20

In a phone call Joyce Waugh, Chamber of Commerce President expressed disappointment and frustration in the Council’s decision not to proceed with the design phase of the amphitheater. “I think they missed a chance,” said Waugh.

With Councilman David Trinkle absent at Monday’s 2:00 PM Council meeting the $1.2 million design phase of the Elmwood Park amphitheater project was removed from the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) list. The amendment to the CIP was introduced by Councilman Court Rosen and seconded by Councilwoman Gwen Mason. Rosen’s objection to the amphitheater primarily hinged on funds needed for storm water, curbs, and bridge repair. He also objected to not having a clear figure on any subsidy that would be imposed on the City to maintain the amphitheater. The only two voting in favor were Mayor Bowers and Councilman Rupert Cutler. This effectively kills the amphitheater project until subsequent Council action reinstates it as a CIP project years down the road.

Council had previously informally formed a consensus at a July 6 discussion voting to proceed with the design phase of the amphitheatre. The only member voting “no” at that time was Councilwoman Anita Price.

Joining in the “no” votes today, July 20 were Councilman Court Rosen, Gwen Mason, and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea. President of the Chamber of Commerce, Joyce Waugh, Dan Motley, Chamber Board member, and  Doug Waters, acting President of Downtown Roanoke Inc. spoke in support of the amphitheater moving forward. 

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Previous recap of Monday’s July 6 CIP decision:

It is no surprise that the Market building renovation took top spot on the capital improvement project list at the Roanoke City Council briefing Monday morning. Unanimously Council adopted a resolution to direct City Administration to proceed with $700,000 engineering plans for the building and streetscape. The total runs a nice round $7 million. That is where consensus among Council members ended however.

Councilman Rupert Cutler and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea had as priority “No. 2″ the Washington Park Aquatic Center. Mayor David Bowers had it at “No. 4″ and would rather see the amphitheater construction moved up from year 2013. Councilman Dave Trinkle had it at “No. 3.” Trinkle “was not convinced on the revenue projections.”

Countryside Golf Course did not make the radar screen except for Mayor Bowers and Councilwoman Anita Price. They had it at priority “No. 2.” It’s sort of in the works now. A gopher guards $2 million for an irrigation system and cart paths unless  Council pulls a Mulligan and chips it to another project.

The amphitheater came in at priority “No. 3″ for Cutler, Lea, and Bowers. Price and Rosen clearly articulated that the amphitheater is a low priority. Councilwoman Gwen Mason wanted to “get back to basics” followed by an extensive discussion on bridge renovation. Trinkle an amphitheater proponent for many years was willing to wait for construction in 2013. The  $1.2 million design in 2010 went forward on a vote of 6 -1 with Price voting “no.” Demolition to the armory on Reserve Avenue will move forward in late winter or early spring.

Price was instrumental in blocking moving forward with the $3.6 million Washington Park Aquatic Center until public hearings could be held that would include the surrounding neighborhoods. The four “no” votes included Price, Bowers, Rosen, and Mason. Evelyn Bethel and Helen Davis praised the decision. They had been part of a committee in 2002 to study uses for Washington Park and were never given the opportunity to present their recommendations to City Council. Primarily they wanted to retain it historically.

The Countryside Golf Course “closed session” on the 3 proposals for 10-year management resulted in questions to be answered by one proposer according to Assistant City Manager, Brian Townsend. The answers would then be presented to Council in another “closed session” at the July 20 Council meeting. Townsend expects that a contract award would be sometime in August or September. The current lease to Meadowbrook ends in October of this year.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics

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