Permanent seating could be coming to the White River State Park concert lawn

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A long-time concert series could see some upcoming renovations. Leaders with the White River State Park Development Commission are proposing a $27 million enhancement to bring permanent seating to its downtown concert lawn.

Minutes from the commission's meeting in August stated roughly a third of the costs would come from state funds. The remaining funds would come from Live Nation, which manages and produces events at the venue and owns the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, and philanthropic contributions.

The park began holding concerts in 2004.

"Bigger artists will go to White River State Park and might play there," said Bianca Hardiman, who was excited about the prospects of enhancements at the park.

The commission needs the proposal approved by the state budget committee, which will hear the idea in October.

Money would fund a new stage, new restrooms and the seating structures.

Past concertgoers said they enjoy outdoor music and hope the plan doesn't change the atmosphere the concert lawn already provides to visitors.

"I really like the flexibility of White River State Park," Scotty Probert, who is hesitant about the investment. "You can adjust fora variety of different uses. If it is a sort of improvement that would impede that, make less options possible, I don’t know if I would support that."

Spokespeople at both Downtown Indy Inc. and Visit Indy support improvements to the state park, adding the investment could lead to bigger acts and bigger crowds downtown.

More details on the project are expected to come out when the budget committee hears the proposal, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16.

The state park's website says the concert lawn is a top 100 outdoor amphitheater in the world, according to Pollstar Magazine.

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