WAXAHACHIE — Downtown Waxahachie will soon feature a new entertainment venue with hopes to unite the community with special musical moments.
Engineering plans are being drafted for the new amphitheater and park across from the MKT train depot on South College Street with construction slated for Spring 2018.
“In the mid-1980’s this was in the initial comprehensive plan that the city did. It languished. Nothing happened. The city went on to develop the civic center and the sports complex but this idea never really came to fruition,” Project member Jim Philips said. “So, through the chamber and Leadership Waxahachie’s initiative, we brought the idea back up. They looked at it from the perspective what could be done economically and they came up with a concept of a simple amphitheater.”
The original plan called for a stage with an area for seating and would require about $20,000 in fundraising. The current design adds several more elements in addition to the amphitheater. These features including a park, a splash pad, a pavilion area, a playground and a place for food trucks to park. The new plan has a budget of $3 million.
The majority of the funding would come from the Waxahachie Community Development Corporation board. The WCDC identifies and funds the civic center and sports complex projects to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the city. Private fundraising options are being explored as well.
Leadership Waxahachie Class Member Ann Montgomery said the project fills a need in the community and brings people together at the same time.
“When we're able to get consultants down who was able to look further into that it just showed the potential for that area for development and use in the park system,” Montgomery said. “It is a way to bring families out to enjoy the music or to enjoy the plays, potential barbecues and by connecting it to the hike and bike trail having bike racks there, people could put their bikes there.”
Montgomery added this amphitheater would help to showcase music and the arts to a new generation of residents.
The project was present to the WCDC board in February. The board asked the leadership group and Philips to expand the idea and turn it into something with multiple uses.
“We are now at the point were Halff and Associates has taken it out to bid and WCDC has approved $440,000 in funding for engineering,” Phillips stated. “The $440,000 for engineering will take us to the point where we are ready to construct it.”
According to Halff and Associates website, the company is a regional consulting firm that provides engineering and architecture services. Some of Halff and Associates projects include the Coppell Town Center, Farmer Branch Fire Station 1 and the White Rock Lake Spillway and Trail.
Leadership Waxahachie Class Member Dale Sigler said the class is very excited about the direction the project is heading and what it is going to do for the city in the future.
“Our purpose was that we wanted a place for residents and visitors to come with the family and the kids. It is a lot larger than what we envisioned originally, but it is better what we could even image,” Sigler said. “The original project is less than a third of what the plan is now. This project is a little over three acres.”
Sigler added that this project would help to push the city even a further in its overall vision.
Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength shared Sigler’s and Montgomery’s optimism about what this type of project will bring to the city.
“I think it will boost all area of town, north, south, west and east. This backside of the project will allow us to expand to the east to downtown. It will enable us to bring a lot of stuff online to the east of the courthouse,” Strength stated. “The other thing is Getzendaner is so far to the west this is kind of like a Getzendaner (Park) in downtown.”