The City of Lakewood took an early step in determining whether a proposed outdoor amphitheater should be part of Fort Steilacoom Park’s future when it hosted a community meeting to gather and share information last week.
Despite the elements, some 75 people braved the cold rain to attend a meeting to learn more about the potential project. The Rotary Club of Lakewood approached the Lakewood City Council about the amphitheater and offered to raise funds to support it. The City Council voted to explore the idea.
At the meeting, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Mary Dodsworth explained that the amphitheater idea was just that – an idea on which the City wants residents’ opinion. Many of the people who attended live near the park, and some said they thought the amphitheater’s development was a “done deal” based on media reports and word-of-mouth from neighbors. They learned Thursday that simply wasn’t the case. “This is just the first step,” Dodsworth said. “This is why we’re having this meeting. We want to hear from people. We want to know if this is something the community is interested in. We want to know if this is something the community wants. The City wants your voice to be heard.”
The project is identified in the City’s “Legacy Plan”. The plan is a 20-year strategic plan which creates a road map for the City’s parks and recreation system.
The Rotary Club’s initial plan calls for an outdoor amphitheater that would seat up to 2,500 people. It initially proposed to raise $300,000 to offset the cost of construction. Some who spoke at the meeting said they didn’t support the idea because it would disturb Fort Steilacoom Park’s ambiance: quiet, peaceful, natural. The park – which welcomes almost 1 million visitors each year – provides the perfect getaway for neighbors.
Some people said they’d be interested in the idea of an amphitheater, which would likely host events only during warmer months. It could draw visitors from outside of Lakewood and add to the quality of life.
Fort Steilacoom Park has undergone some change in recent years, including development of a popular dog park, construction of bathrooms, a large playground and other amenities some residents might not even realize.
The City is going to continue seeking input from the public on the amphitheater idea and will share the information at a future City Council meeting. For developments, follow the City on its homepage, Facebook or Twitter.
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