A local chapter of the Levitt Pavilions is roughly 75 percent complete with fundraising, which will bring an amphitheater to Ruby Hill Park in southwest Denver in 2016.
The amphitheater has 50 free shows each year and up to five entry shows between late May and September. According to Chris Zacher, CEO and Executive Director of Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver, the fundraising process will end on March 31, 2015 and construction of the amphitheater should begin soon thereafter.
There are two events in the park this week, a gala event on July 1st and a free concert on July 2nd.
Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver was selected to raise $ 1.6 million for the project after receiving $ 400,000 from their parent company Levitt Pavilions and $ 2 million from the city. Denver reallocated funds from the Better Denver Bond Program for the project. Levitt Pavilions will also donate $ 100,000 annually to the amphitheater
“This is the bold investment in community resources that has made and continues to make this region a model for public-private partnership,” said Chris Nevitt, Denver city councilor. Nevitt represents the area.
The pavilion will stand on the north side of the 88 hectare park, which, according to Zacher, is a natural amphitheater with its bowl shape. The stage will be built along with other amenities for the performing groups, such as a state-of-the-art green room and a backstage area. There will be no seating on the premises, just grassy areas which should allow around 7,500 visitors per show. The pavilion is fenced and alcohol is sold at most of the shows.
“The Levitt Pavilion will make Ruby Hill a destination in its own right, bringing new opportunities and associated economic benefits to this part of our city,” said Mayor Michael Hancock.
Zacher said that 25 of the 50 free shows will be for local acts, while the other 25 will be smaller national tours. Once the fundraising and construction is complete, Levitt Pavilions Denver will begin booking acts.
“Part of the concept is building a community through music,” said Zacher.
The amphitheater will likely open in June or July 2016, but Zacher said there will be 50 more free shows this year, it will just be a shorter season.
Zacher has experience as he has been running City Park Jazz since 2007.
“In Denver we know it works,” he said. “I learned how the city of Denver really supports the arts, especially when it provides better access to them.”
Denver Parks and Recreation spokesman Jeff Green said the amphitheater was a big part of the Ruby Hill master plan. Already in winter, the park is known for its railway station, which allows locals to snowboard without having to go into the mountains. Parks and Rec will also offer a mountain bike course when funding is available and are considering upgrading the pool.
“It will bring some convenience to the neighborhood and attract more people to the park,” said Green.
Joe Vaccarelli: 303-954-2396, [email protected] or twitter.com/joe_vacc
Events of the Levitt Pavilion
• Tuesday July 1st: Sounds of Levitt Gala. The fundraiser starts at 5 p.m.
• Wednesday July 2nd: Free community concert. Activities start at 5 p.m.
Details on both events online at levittdenver.org/events