“Let the music play” was not heard much last summer, as heavy rains drowned out the Concert in the Park Series last year and left the city’s amphitheater in a soggy mess.
The Richmond Park Board reaffirmed a commitment late last year by allocating $8,000 to the budget to help fix the problem at the amphitheater.
Some repairs have already been approved but some questions still remain about the concert schedule and operation.
Board Member Bill Purcell, Recreation Director Haley Morrissey, City Administrator Rick Childers, City Councilwoman Tammy Folvarcik and concert promoter Bob Moses formed a Park Board sub-committee.
Purcell, who is chairing the committee, said they met last month with Moses; however, no one from the school attended the meeting although they were invited.
Purcell said Moses had some concerns about the board’s commitment to the amphitheater. Purcell said those concerns were alleviated by the commitment of expenditures.
“I think his main concern is that we make a full-fledged commitment to him and the amphitheater,” Purcell said. “I told him I think we have done that with our commitment to the funds.”
The board approved a schedule of Thursday and Friday nights from June 1 through the end of September. Concert hours will be moved up one hour from 8 to 10 p.m., to a 7 to 9 p.m. concert time.
The only major concern of the board is a conflict between the girls’ softball games and the concerts. In the past, games would be over before concert start times due to lack of lighting on the softball fields. Now the softball fields have lights and games are expected to last later.
Purcell said Moses indicated that he has no issue with moving concerts to the Ray County Museum when there is a scheduling conflict with softball games. Purcell said the museum would also become the permanent rain-date location for concerts. Purcell said there would be language on the amphitheater’s sign indicating changes.
Purcell said conflicting events is a good problem the city will have with growth.
“Obviously, as the city grows we’re going to have more and more conflicts with things like that,” he said. “There’s going to be multiple things going on at the same time.”
Purcell also suggested that the concession stands be open during the concerts. He thinks it would be a way to make money and would also help Moses. He said Moses indicated that he would also like to have a person who helps him set up and tear down after concerts. That person could help run the concession stand while the concert is going.
Purcell added that a person would need to be hired for eight hours a week for 17 weeks or about $1,400. Purcell said these are all things that would need to be worked out with Moses. He said the committee would continue to meet with Moses.
“He has to work out the logistics, but we’re going to continue to meet monthly to plan this,” he said.
Purcell said that Moses is also working on some special concert nights or weekend dates to attract groups and others from outside the area. Purcell said his brother-in-law belongs to a motorcycle group in Kansas City that rides out to places, like Lexington, just to get a bite to eat.