Downtown Mansfield will soon be a LOT more entertaining.
On Thursday, Mayor David Cook and the board of directors of The Live Outdoor Theater (LOT) Downtown broke ground on a new outdoor amphitheater at 110 S. Main St. The new venue, which will have lawn seating for up to 2,000 people, is set to open Oct. 10 with a performance by country group Sawyer Brown.
“We will have a couple of concerts that will be paid events with bigger acts to provide revenue for the rest of the season to be free,” said Justin Gilmore, a member of The LOT Downtown’s board of directors. “We will have about 25 concerts per year, plus family movie nights. We will also be open to church’s sunrise services.”
Level 5 will design and build the project, which will be constructed on the 2-acre site of the former Mansfield Public Library on property owned by the city. Gilmore, president of Level 5, has formed a nonprofit to raise $350,000 to construct the amphitheater, which will then be owned by the city. Level 5 will donate its services for the project, Gilmore said.
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“We’re trying to get a design that will resemble downtown,” he said, with brick and wood construction, plus a metal roof. “It will be a permanent structure that won’t just be a place to come watch a concert, it is a community gathering place.”
The project will also include a food truck park off 1st Avenue, Gilmore said.
The nonprofit already has an anonymous donor who has contributed $70,000 to the amphitheater’s construction, Gilmore announced at the groundbreaking.
“I believe this is a major part of what we’re trying to do in downtown,” Cook said. “I think (downtown) is the key to keeping Mansfield small, keeping the hometown charm.”
Cook and council member Cory Hoffman also alluded to future expansion of the downtown area.
“The council wants to lengthen the strip, start at the post office at Pleasant Ridge Drive and Main Street and end at Hunt Street,” Cook said. “We want to develop the south portion.”
“In five to 10 years, this part of Main Street will be unrecognizable,” he said. “It’s turning into a very walkable, very enjoyable part of downtown.”
Developer Kim McCaslin Schlieker, who is also on the board of directors for The LOT, has been watching the revitalization of the area, and says the amphitheater will help.
“We want it to be a gathering place for Mansfield to come out for live music, live theater and family events,” she said. “We want to make this the place you want to go on Saturday nights.”
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451
The LOT Downtown
110 S. Main St.