Tourist Development Council (TDC) members voted Thursday to earmark $300,000 in next year’s budget to build a beachfront amphitheater.
The project was brought forward by Tourist Development Director Julie White during the TDC’s annual budget meeting. She explained that the beach currently holds host to a variety of concerts and events, including the Tunes by the Dunes concert series, but the beach does not currently have the facilities to adequately support these ventures.
“I would love to see us build…a nice space for an amphitheater with nice sound and seating,” White said.
The preliminary idea would be to place the facility at the entrance of the marine sanctuary on currently vacant property. County engineering would need to review that site location before it would be set.
White said she toured a similar facility on Pensacola Beach as an example. Located adjacent to the Pensacola Pier, this facility sees hundreds and even thousands of people a night flocking to concerts and the annual “Bands of the Beach” series that the area hosts.
That structure cost roughly $200,000 to complete she said.
TDC member Judy Windorfer pointed out that building the stage could open the door to additional events to promote the beach experience.
District 4 County Commissioner Dave Piech said a concert space for the community is clearly needed. Piech sits as a member on the TDC.
Previous plans for the Navarre Park remodel included construction of a new stage, but that plan has been dropped due to traffic and parking concerns.
“We are not bringing concerts back to the Navarre Park area,” he said.
Piech said the beach is the appropriate location for these types of festivities.
The project is part of a larger push to improve facilities along the county’s largest bed tax generator. Funds from this year’s budget have already been earmarked for improvements to beach restrooms, shower facilities and crosswalks at a cost of roughly $250,000.
The TDC also voted to award $45,000 in event marketing grants and $17,000 in sponsorships to 20 events throughout the county.
For the full story pick up the March 28 issue of the Navarre Press or go to NavarrePress.com/Subscribe.