Report: Key West amphitheater no big money-maker at first

An artist’s rendering shows the yet to be completed Key West Amphitheater
An artist’s rendering shows the yet to be completed Key West Amphitheater

The city of Key West will likely have a $4 million amphitheater that is $33,000 short of breaking even the first year, according to a detailed report put together by staff.

City commissioners will hear the contents of the report at their Tuesday meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1300 White St.

“We are not a primary market nor close to a tour route,” the report states, recommending the city focus on promoting “the Key West experience” when booking events at the amphitheater under construction at the Truman Waterfront Park.

Garlic Fest, Irish Fest, pet shows, Shakespeare, weddings, proms and tribute bands are among the events suitable for the venue, which seeks to attract 1,000 people to medium-sized events and three times that number for major shows, the report says.

Expenses will hit $161,000, according to the first year pro forma prediction, based on having only 21 events per year while staff recommends 32 to 54 events a year, including at least three national acts and one to two dozen “family-friendly” events, such as movies, dances and graduations.

Also Tuesday, the commission will decide whether to grant permits to the 45th Annual Phil Peterson’s Poker Run motorcycle charity event.

Safety was a main issue at the June 6 commission meeting, given an isolated incident last year at a downtown bar in which a motorcycle club member was arrested for beating the bar owner, John Mafera.

The Sunrise Rotary dropped its sponsorship of the event a month after last year’s Poker Run, which gives money to diabetes research. Without permits, things such as closing down a portion of Duval Street for motorcycle parking and an open-air market won’t be allowed.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen