Aging Lowell Showboat amphitheater approved for first $75K of $700K renovation

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

Lowell’s crumbling and unsightly former Lowell Showboat amphitheater is awaiting a possible $700,000 upgrade. Last week, the Lowell Downtown Development Authority agreed to fund $75,000 of phase one of the project—the demolition of the existing concrete bleachers, excavation and re-landscaping of the area.

The city is looking to the Lowell Area Community Fund for a funds match to bring the total to $150,000.

The city installed the amphitheater in the 1970s, just north of Riverwalk Plaza along the east bank of the Flat River, and it’s just plain worn out.

“Since then the Lowell Showboat was discontinued and we now have the Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts, which were moved to Riverwalk Plaza,” says City Manager Dave Pasquale. “The old amphitheater has been sort of vandalized. The schools have property adjoining and we want to upgrade the [amphitheater’s] appearance.”

The ultimate goal is to create a new 200- to 300-seat amphitheater in the same location—a place for small outdoor concerts, possibly weddings, and an inviting space where people can relax and view the river.

“Going north from Main Street, the riverwalk goes past the Flat River Grill, the Chamber of Commerce and the new library, then ends abruptly just short of the amphitheater,” Pasquale notes. “Eventually, we want to continue it past the amphitheater to connect to the sidewalks along Lafayette Street.”

Two designs submitted by Design Plus, both detailing $700,000 in improvements, would continue the seawall along the east bank, extend the riverwalk, incorporate a lawn area and possibly playground equipment, and create a new amphitheater, stage, and possibly a scenic river overlook.

“Next phases will depend on availability of money,” Pasquale says. “Right now we just want to clean it up.”

Source: Dave Pasquale, City of Lowell

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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