Mesa Mulls Shed Options

Mesa, Ariz., officials are weighing options for the city’s cash-strapped Mesa Amphitheatre, which has been losing money.

Revenue at the shed dropped from $2.3 million to $366,446 over a four-year period, according to an examination by the Arizona Republic, and the aging facility is apparently in need of updates and a new business plan.

A finance committee is determining whether the 4,950-capacity amphitheatre should remain under the direction of the parks department or be placed in the hands of the city’s arts and culture department or a private firm.

“Is it an enterprise that can make a little money and be a viable community facility and we’re happy, or is there a lost opportunity there, and if so, is it worth a major investment?” Mayor Scott Smith told the paper. “Or is it worth turning over to a private investor that would make such an investment and operate it as a successful, commercial facility?”

The venue lacks amenities including air-conditioning backstage for performers. An assistant director of the parks department told the Republic that funding major upgrades to the 32-year-old facility wouldn’t be worth the investment as bookings have declined over the past few years.