PARKERSBURG - Members of the Parkersburg City Council Public Works Committee expressed support but also concerns Tuesday for a proposed concert park in south Parkersburg.
Several members said the plan to create a concert park near the Fifth Street Bridge, west of the city's skate park, seemed to be missing key information and would require more work before it could be brought before full council for consideration.
Businessman Norm Payne presented information on the proposed park to the committee on Aug. 13 and returned Tuesday to answer questions stemming from the previous meeting.
Photo by Michael Erb
Businessman Norm Payne speaks Tuesday with the Parkersburg City Council Public Works Committee concerning a proposed concert park in south Parkersburg.
Payne said committee members had asked about liability insurance, which will be carried at the park, and flood insurance which Payne said would only be carried if requested by the project's investors.
"If they demand we have that kind of insurance, we will have that insurance," he said.
Payne also spoke about entrances and exits for the park as well as using off-site parking and buses to move people in and out of the area. Payne estimated the more than 6-acre property could accommodate as many as 14,000 people, but would aim for crowds of about 8,000.
Payne said he envisions top-name acts being brought to the area, drawing in tourism dollars from the surrounding region.
"It's not going to just attract from Parkersburg," he said. "It is going to attract from outside of the area. I think this would be a good tool for bringing tourism to Parkersburg."
But questions arose on both the logistics and cost of the project.
Council and committee member Kim Coram said while she felt the idea was sound, the lack of information was a concern.
"First off let me say I really like your vision for what you want to do," she said. "I like your idea. I don't feel you've fully developed it."
Council president and committee member Jim Reed was more blunt.
"I keep dwelling on the cost of this project," he said. "Are you getting ahead of yourself on this project?"
"I don't think so," Payne said.
Payne added some of the project's potential investors have offered work-trade, meaning they would invest man hours in the project, such as doing electrical and plumbing work.
Payne also said there are no plans to borrow money. Instead both the initial project and the entertainment company startup would come from personal and investor funds.
"We're not trying to come up with enough money to get the building and the property up," he said. "We're getting the money to start up the business."
Committee members and council members attending the meeting said they needed better numbers, both in terms of investors and projected expenses. For example, Payne said the estimated cost to build the stage was about $80,000, but had few other numbers on site prep and potential expenses.
Coram also pointed out the group had no traffic study to show how the concert park would affect traffic in and around that area. Council member John Kelly who was attending the committee concurred, asking the group to bring back a traffic impact study.
Payne asked if he could bring that information directly to council, but was told by council member and committee president Mike Reynolds the information would be brought back to the Public Works committee.
No motions were made during the committee meeting.