Legislative action could boost Krug Park

Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:05 pm, Sat Jun 2, 2012.
By Jimmy Myers | St. Joseph News-Press | 9 comments
Posted on June 3, 2012
by Jimmy Myers

What ended up being quietly amended to a Missouri House bill at the end of the General Assembly in May could prove to be a “game-changer” for St. Joseph.

State Sen. Dr. Rob Schaaf’s bill that allows cities and towns in Buchanan County to create entertainment districts could be an important aspect in the rebirth of Krug Park’s amphitheater.

The legislative step is one of many that will have to be taken for the park to attract the promoters that route major musical acts to venues throughout the country. But it is a major step in that the entertainment district allows a sales tax at those events that could benefit the park and the city.

Jeremiah Reeves, a St. Joseph native who is a descendant of the Krug family, is working with interested parties, including Populous, a group of designers and architects who have built major international stadiums and arenas, in renovating Krug Park. The renovations would enable the facility to handle 20,000-plus capacity events. He hopes to have a plan to the City Council by the end of the summer.

“Realistically,” Mr. Reeves said of the legislation, “it’s another step. But on the flip side, it’s a very helpful thing for St. Joe and it could ultimately lead to a game change here.”

Mr. Reeves, who has worked for CBS in Chicago for 12 years but still calls St. Joseph home, said more Kansas Citians visit Weston every year than St. Joseph. While not trying to slight Weston, he said the scenario is “horrifying,” given what St. Joseph has to offer. A renovated Krug Park, which could include a fresh stretch of parkway offering a new “five-star entrance” to St. Joseph, could provide some of the fuel for the “game-change.”

Clint Thompson, director of planning and community development for the city, said he’s had meetings off and on for the last six months with the interested parties. One of the issues they’ve yet to work through is the fact that alcohol is not allowed in the park, and it’s something that would likely be the major source of revenue at musical events.

Another issue is how to work through a private/public partnership, as Krug Park is city-owned and will always be open to the public.

“It’s another step in trying to figure out how to solve the puzzle of the financing components,” Mr. Thompson said of the legislation and any future renovations to the park.


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