Depot Park may see addition of amphitheater

Discussions are currently in the works for the potential addition of an amphitheater to Gainesville’s Depot Park. Sarah Vidal-Finn, the director of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), said the infrastructure for an amphitheater is there and has always been a part of the park’s original master plan.

“If you go to the park there’s kind of a grassy hill that goes down towards the water,” she said. “So that was the proposed location for the amphitheater. That’s kind of the second phase discussion about if the amphitheater will be located there and what kind of amphitheater the commission desires.”

The Depot Park amphitheater would be used for additional programming and to host larger outdoor concerts. Right now, the only outdoor concert area in Gainesville is the one in downtown’s Bo Diddley Plaza.

“Amphitheaters can range from ones like in St. Augustine, where you have individual seats and you can sell seats, to just having concrete stairs, to just being grass,” Vidal-Finn said. “So there’s a lot of different ways we can do it. We’ll be returning to the commission to have that discussion about what they’d like to see there.”

Along with working with the city commission, the CRA will be working closely with Gainesville’s Park Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Depot Park’s manager, who oversees the day-to-day activities at the park, she said.

“We don’t have a timeline until we get a design and have a scope approved,” she said.

Other park additions will include implementing signs to help navigate the park and teach visitors about its features. Vidal-Finn said the impact that the park is already making in Gainesville is astounding. “It’s just been so popular since day one,” she said.

“We worked really hard to push the envelope on its design and create a space that this region has never seen. So, I think in working with the community on that and our design team, we definitely accomplished what we set out to do. Now the challenge is maintaining the level of service and the programming that happens there.”

By Kristina Orrego

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