While a renovated amphitheater while undoubtedly improve the image of Tower Park, as I mentioned in a previous post, the success of the investment in the amphitheater will depend on how it is used. As I read the Enquirer's coverage of the progress on the amphitheater I was disappointed to read the reaction from the Parks Department about future uses of the amphitheater:
"Buerger said he hopes the bigger stage and better seating will encourage more community groups to use it. One of the things discussed is the potential for weddings."You can't just build it and hope that people show up. Clearly this is the attitude of the recreation department. The city has to be proactive with programming to really get the most of the new facility. A great example of this is the redesigned Fountain Square. Cincinnati spent the money to upgrade the square but it would have been a huge failure had they stopped there, instead they schedule focused programming on a nearly daily basis. I am not saying it needs to be that frequent, in fact our community of 16,000+ couldn't support that level of programming but we can't have an attitude of merely encouraging the public to use it.
Here are some ideas to make the most of the improved facilities:
- Create a program committee to set a schedule of events - the input from a good cross section of citizens will ensure programming that will appeal to as many citizens as possible. The program committee will also ensure the Parks Department can focus on their leagues and facilities.
- How about engaging Midway businesses such as Sarelli's to offer discounts and packaged picnic dinners that can be purchased for dinner during the concert or movie. This cross promotion of a nearby business district is a win - win.
- Beyond summer kid movies, what about a childrens theater performance or Shakespeare in the park from a Cincinnati area performance group. Partnering with the Know Theater or other area arts group for some unique, eclectic programming.