Grand Rapids Outdoor Performance Venue Feasibility Study
Project Type: Feasibility Study
Client: Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission
Home to over 11,000 residents and an emerging arts scene, Grand Rapids has a rich history of arts celebration and performance along the Mississippi River. This connection of art to nature was realized during the sixty-year history of The Showboat Landing, where the Mississippi Melodie would disembark performers who would delight audiences with song, dance, and theatrics along the magical backdrop of the Mississippi River.
The tradition of entertainment along the banks of the Mississippi was acknowledged by the Grand Rapids Arts & Culture Commission by initiating a feasibility study for an outdoor performance venue to continue the legacy of performance on the river. LHB was selected to examine, evaluate, measure, and summarize the need for a new or expanded outdoor entertainment venue in Grand Rapids.
The feasibility study consisted of two phases:
- Phase 1 assessed regional demand and reviewed eight comparable outdoor venue sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin, to measure their success in facility maintenance as well as market and economic support.
- Phase 2 gathered public input for potential sites and analyzed three site options for an outdoor venue location and developed preliminary spatial requirements for program features.
After a preferred site was chosen, the LHB team developed a list of minimum desired site features along with a preliminary budget, and provided recommendations for facility operations and management, site programming, and long-term sustainability practices. A robust public engagement process occurred that included an online survey, two public meetings and a two-day workshop with stakeholders. The objective of the public engagement was to promote meaningful participation while fostering a sense of ownership among community members.
The information included within the study summarized the assessment and achievability of a riverfront venue, and will be used for decision making as well as future planning regarding development of an outdoor venue site that best fits the needs of the Grand Rapids community.