Roanoke’s Shed Proposal

After issuing a request for proposals in June to build and operate a 7,000-seat amphitheatre in Roanoke, Va., the city council held a closed session November 19th to discuss the responses.

Although there wasn’t a public announcement following the meeting, Councilman Bev Fitzpatrick indicated that the council heard two proposals of the six responses initially received. But neither proposal was considered viable because each lacked necessary information, the Roanoke Times reported.

An editorial piece in the paper, printed before the closed meeting, urged that the project go forward, as a shed "could play too large a role in the city’s efforts to revive downtown and the Jefferson Street corridor." The city has a population of nearly 300,000.

Last summer the Roanoke City Council voted 4-2 to locate the venue at the old Victory Stadium site, which was razed last year.

Even though the public hasn’t been involved in the decision-making process so far, many local restaurant owners and musicians favor a shed for what it could do for the local music scene and Roanoke’s economy, according to the Roanoke Times.

"It can only be good for Roanoke," said Kerry Hurley, the owner of Blue 5, a blues-themed restaurant and nightspot in the city. "I hope with all my heart that they build it. The bottom line is, the more art and culture that we have in this area, the better. Period."

Jason Martin, the owner of Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill, said he’s also all for a shed being built because of the benefits that could trickle down to his establishment.

"If I can get a decent band that’s in a similar genre to what they have going on, I can draw people down here for the post-party," Martin said.

If an amphitheatre is built, it will have a couple of other venues to keep it company: the 2,148-capacity Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre and the 10,500-capacity Roanoke Civic Center.