Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Construction Schedule

by August 29, 2011 • 28 comments

The projected improvements to Aaron Bessant Park have been quite a hot topic lately with many energetically arguing for and against it.  The public workshop is this Wednesday evening and a lively workshop its expected to be!

The city has released the projected construction schedule, which is not final, but intended to be used to map out the process of building the improvements.

The schedule


  • Week 3 – Technical specifications
  • Week 4 – Draft RFQ and sound check site
  • Week 5 – Workshop: Design parameters


  • Week 6 – Advertise RFQ: Design/Build
  • Week 7 – Geotechnical released
  • Week 8 – Refine Design parameters
  • Week 9 – Addendum


  • Week 10 – RFQ Due Design/Build
  • Week 11 – Award Contract: Design/Build
  • Week 12 – Work shop: Design
  • Week 13 – Submit to FCT


  • Week 15 – Site/Structural Plans
  • Week 16 – Site Construction Start
  • Week 17 – Order Steel
  • Week 18 – Permit Set Complete


  • Week 19 – Building Construction Start
  • Week 20 – Underground work
  • Week 21 – Slab on Grade


  • Week 24 – Walls to roof structure
  • Week 26 – Roof Structure


  • Week 28 – MEP installation


  • Week 32 – Finish work
  • Week 35 – Certificate of occupancy


  • Week 36 – Punch list
  • Week 37 – Seabreeze Jazz Festival
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1 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 11:13 am

Hi Jason…..
Can you please tell me if this is to be located inside Pier Park or across the main road over in the ball field area?
I can’t understand why so many are complaining about the noise when (if) it is to be located where all the other outdoor music events are held, then to me it is the same… right? It will be no closer to the residents or condo owners than before. People want new things built but then again…. they don’t want it.
I even read one gentleman’s comment that the area residents were not allowed to purchase tickets to these concerts/events…… that would be utter nonsense!
Have a good one!


2 Jason Koertge August 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

These improvements are going to be to Aaron Bessant park. That is the festival/concert area that exists adjacent to Pier Park. Technically it’s not a part of Pier Park.

This is not Frank Brown Park, where the baseball fields are.

Does that help?


3 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Yes, thank you……..
Looking at the map this has to be the property owned by PCB Fla. which is to the left side of West Park Dr. (looking from the ocean towards Pier Park) This is the nice wooded land with the small lake on it & walking trail….. that is sure a nice “natural” area. I hope they do all they can to save this natural look. It would be a shame to fill that in or pour it full of concrete.
In 3 weeks I will be down in PCB…. I can’t wait to see this for myself and attend some of the things planned for the area at that time.
Thank you again,


4 Jason Koertge August 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm

There is a sidewalk and nature trail there. But this property has been ‘developed’ for years. They’re not going to be taking down trees and destroying conservation area to ‘pour it full of concrete’.

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival, weekly summer concert series, and countless other concerts have been in this very location for years. The only different this amphitheater is going to make is that events won’t have to erect the stage every time any more. They aren’t touching the grass, the trees, the pond, etc.

The projected amphitheater is only slated to be 40×60 feet. The rest will practically stay the same.


5 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Well, that’s a good deal then…… there were probably more people wondering this. You know it’s the big thing nowadays to keep as much “green” as we can around projects. It not only helps our earth it creats oxygen for us. 🙂
Believe me, I have never protested the building of this from the beginning, I think the plans look fantastic & just think of how much work this will take off people who have had to erect a stage before these events. Now, when this is finished so many events will benefit from using it and for many years to come. Besides, I have seen so many wonderful improvments to that area around Pier Park….. everything looks great & I believe this will be to.
Have a good evening!

6 Jeremy August 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Yes Cathy, you are right, it does seem utter nonsense. As I understand it (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), the local residents are not allowed to buy tickets for those events that have been funded by BP money, because it is to be used solely to attract tourism that was affected by the spill. And since we are already here we don’t count as having tourist dollars. I think they may be allowed to buy tickets that haven’t sold as the final date approaches though?

The proposed amphitheater is intended to replace the existing one next to Pier Park, and not, as you were wondering, where they have recently hosted the bigger events at Frank Brown Park (the ballpark). It too is being funded by BP, so I hope that doesn’t mean locals will never be allowed to use it! (jk).

I am going to wait until after I have attended the workshop tomorrow now before making any further opinion calls on this myself. I’m actually in favor of a larger concert venue being built in town, it’s just the specific location I have reservations about. The complaint about the noise I posted here this weekend was during and specific to Saturday night’s concert, which, to be fair, seemed way louder than any other event in all the years since I have lived here.


7 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Jeremy, you are informing me of things I have never heard of. It seems to me that if you are a tourist or a local resident if you have the funds to purchase a ticket to an upcoming event & want to go—— you should be allowed to purchase these and enjoy the event.
I will be in PCB in three weeks and as much as I love this place I am going to go over & look at the area with my own eyes.
Please keep us posted as to what happens in the workshop…. I wish you the best & PCB.
Thank you,


8 Greggt August 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Jeremy I think the way it worked was that tourists coming in and staying at least two days at one of the participating motel/condo owners/management company had the 1st shot at these tickets up to 14 days prior to the event. After the 14 days they would be available to anyone.
The reason of course was to encourage people to visit PCB and increase tourism.


9 Maureen August 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the construction of a “high end” WalMart.


10 Lee Mosser August 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm

How do I help build it ?


11 Jim Beahon August 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

It absolutely boggles my mind that this plan would go forward with the amount of opposition that has been voiced by local residents. I and my wife attended the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and, once we were able to find a parking place, work our way through the very long line and find a place to put our hand carried seating, we loved the performances. Then it came time to leave….. We live about three miles from the Park yet it took us about an hour or more to get home. I can’t imagine what the Commissioners are thinking by entertaining expanding the capacity AT THIS LOCATION. Get real!


12 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Someone may have to construct a parking garage with several floors to compensate this instead of a parking lot. Just a suggestion here. You take the parking lot behind Pier Park to the East end & construct this. Yes it would take funds, lighing, and a parking attendant……we have Central Parking here in Nashville & this works great. When areas are inlarged to attract more residents and tourists… you must also consider providing a building to park their vehicles in. Isn’t this the right way to consider this?
Thanks, Cathy/Tennessee


13 Ryan August 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I don’t see why our leaders should spend $3M. Walton County is exploring 5 options. Were our politicians considering other options because I didn’t hear any?

The BP $ is not free money for the TDC and city to blow, it was meant to make up for lost taxes. Spending taxpayer money to save for profit promoters from spending $25k to build temporary stages for a few shows per year is not money well spent.

How much do I have to pay to rent this stage? How much is it projected to bring in?
Also, many business have signs in their parking lots reminding people those spots are for patrons. How do businesses feel about concert goers taking up all the parking for their patrons?


14 Greggt August 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm

You have something confused Ryan. The “taxpayer money” you speak of was bed tax money, the bed tax spent by our visitors staying at our motels/condos. These taxes go to the TDC to promote tourism, this is exactly what this project is about.
Personally I think a better location could have been chosen but still a good project that will promote PCB.


15 Ryan August 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

And last weekend was louder than ever before. I heard their preaching very clear from my backyard when grilling.
The usual Thursday shows are just amateur bands with amateur equipment. What they are hoping to draw with the new stage are professional acts with high end, very loud sound systems.


16 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Ryan, the way I see it you are a lucky fellow……. you will never need to purchase a ticket to any concerts or preachings. lol lol
Hunny a lil preaching never hurt anyone! 🙂
Besides, these preformances are not 24/7 or 365 days a year. There is a website I found today, I believe if you google Aaron Bessant Park PCB Florida it has articles where the officials have made noise checks and time checks. As I read they all checked out to be within legal limits and times.
I really don’t think they are trying to draw “Main” events with super dooper loud systems……. the new stage will only look more modern and keep each event from setting up a stage. Events will be able to clear the area faster when the event is over.
Hope this helps……


17 Mark August 31, 2011 at 8:06 am

Safety! Is anyone thinking of safety?

In light of all the stage collapses and deaths associated with these accidents around the country, maybe residents in PCB need to consider safety issues of the concert attendee. Building a real well-engineered permanent stage makes sense for safety alone. Our weather here can be as unpredictable as anywhere else. Who wants to risk being at any show now under any “temporary” stage or tent?
Go to YouTube and replay the video from Indianapolis and ask yourself that question.


18 Cathy August 31, 2011 at 8:39 am

Mark, I don’t believe anyone here has given this a thought nor have I until you mentioned this. Although bad weather can do damage I would agree that any permanent stage would be 100% safer and more so stable than that of a temporary one.
Anyone reading this article should agree with this unanimous!
Thank you,


19 Jeremy August 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm

For all the types of severe weather we get here (thunderstorms, and less often hurricanes and tornados) the safe thing to do is postpone events in advance when big storms are brewing, or clear the park temporarily when pop-up storms don’t give enough advance warning. Just like they do in Disney World. Whatever decision is reached here, an open air concert is never going to be a safe place to be in the middle of a storm.

At the end of the day, if mother nature wants to destroy a stage she probably will, whatever it’s made of, and however much it cost.


20 Ryan August 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Do concerts get a pass on the noise ordinance? I recall a bar on Thimas drive getting shut down due to noise and there is no way those concerts last weekend weren’t as loud.


21 Cathy August 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

There are a lot of bars & clubs on Thomas Drive. We have stayed in many of the “HIGH” rise condos right beside & behind these. Did we hear some music? Yes
Did we freak out over it? No
We went on with our vacation and had a good time. The noise always dies down around midnight & life goes on.
See if this makes sense to you…….
Some people come to PCB to lay on the beach, relax by the pool or go fishing. At night some go to clubs, out to eat, shopping and some stay in their condos. I doubt many are that bothered by singing or music. Everyone makes their own fun and does their own thing nowadays.


22 Nancy September 2, 2011 at 7:26 am

I think that the people against this construction are not seeing the fact that a bigger stage with protection from the elements for the performers does not mean bigger sound. I have been in the music business with my husband for close to 30 years and looking at the projected plans for this new stage, because it is larger, does not mean that the decibel level to go up. In fact, this construction gives more control over that decibel level by the way of containment. The current situation at Pier Park, in fact, gives absolutely no control over the direction of sound traveling.
I have a lot of experience with music performance and sound at events in large cities and this is a plus for our area to have quality events and a decent stage to put those acts on, including other kinds of performances besides music. Any performance that needs thousands of dollars of electronic equipment (which is currently what is being used) as a means for you to hear it deserves protection from the elements as well as for the performers themselves.
As for the traffic situation, you will have that no matter what you do there.


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