Loudy-Simpson Park might house Amphitheater


— Since 1988, County Commissioner Tom Mathers has had a dream: to bring an amphitheater to Moffat County, built on the 14 acres of open land in Loudy-Simpson Park.

“To me, that would just make it a complete park,” Mathers said. “Many communities have (amphitheaters) and it just lets you do so much more in the entertainment world.”

At the moment, putting on a concert in Loudy-Simpson Park costs $7,000 to $8,000 because of the expense of bringing in the stage, lights and equipment, Mathers said.

A permanent venue could potentially save the county thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of money spent on the basic set-up costs for events, he said.

“We would definitely save money not having to bring everything in every time.” Mathers said. “We would build it using our natural resource and mineral money so that it wouldn’t be paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

A design for the venue has not been chosen, making it impossible to estimate what the facility would cost, but even using the facility only once or twice a year would balance out the cost, Mathers said. Ideally, the amphitheater would seat upward of 10,000 people.

A large amphitheater could bring more cash to Craig. Larger events drawing larger crowds and more out-of-towners would bring an influx of revenue for the city as people spend their money in shops, restaurants and hotels.

“I think Tom has a great idea there,” said County Commissioner John Kinkaid. “I think making improvements to Loudy-Simpson is one of the things we can do as a county to bring more people to the park and I think there would be a better, more enjoyable atmosphere for concerts as well.”

The plans are currently in the research phase. Mathers has visited multiple communities to see how they went about designing and constructing their venues. Styles range from a simple clamshell-shaped seating area to stages with a full theater setup.

This weekend, Parrothead Captain John Husband and Director of Parks and Recreation Dave Pike are in Telluride taking notes on the amphitheater while they take in a bluegrass festival.

“We want something that will fit Moffat County,” Mathers said. “We’re looking at what other communities have and we’re trying to come up with something that people will really be able to enjoy, but right now we don’t know what it would look like.”

Mathers hopes that the community will rally behind the idea he’s held on to for 15 years, and input in always appreciated, regardless of whether you support the project or not.

“Loudy-Simpson is the gem of Moffat County,” Mathers said. “This would just be a great thing for Craig. Our summers are so short, we should be able to get the most out of them.”

Andie Tessler can be reached at 970-875-1793 or atessler@CraigDailyPress.com.


David Moore 3 years, 4 months ago

Ok, correct me if I am wrong here but as a concert veteran with hundreds of them under my belt, this venture is somewhat puzzling to me. First off, don't bands bring their own stage setups? Lighting and equipment are usually part of what the band themselves bring, the stage I can possibly see, but not everything else. I remember watching a couple bands setup in the old McNichols sports arena, those bands brought it all, including the stage. Second, seating of upwards of 10,000 people? Red Rocks Amphitheater, when using the assigned seating holds, according to redrocksonline.com, 9,450 people. Are you seriously going to try and build an amphitheater that large at Loudy-Simpson? Parking for those 10,000 people is going to be where? And, how are you going to draw 10,000 people in with bands like "Cracker", tribute bands and washed up 60's ones like....whatever that one was a couple years ago? You would have to bring in high class acts to even fill half of something that large, in Craig Colorado no less. I encourage readers to go to Red Rocks online and see what acts they are bringing in, Craig could not even come close to affording such musical talent and even if they did, who would drive clear out here to see them anyway? Does Craig have 10,000 hotel rooms to accommodate a large concert crowd? Don't get me wrong here, I am not against some sort of musical venue in Craig, but, my opinion is that this has not been thoroughly thought through. Maybe a venue that holds say 2-3000 people would be more appropriate and would actually fit out at Loudy. Keep in mind the mess it already makes when the musical shows go on out there, can you imagine the literal craziness it would create IF they build an amphitheater as large as Red Rocks and brought in real talent? Besides, to have amphitheater quality sound, the stage needs to be lower than the seating so the music flows up and seating is such to provide an unobstructed view of the band performing. Loudy is flat and flood prone, building something like that would make it nothing but a swimming pool. It would take a lot of work to carve it into that hillside and quite a bit of drainage rerouting to keep it from flooding. Craig is not a class act concert destination and never will be, but, a small venue would be quite nice for the locals to go see tribute bands and old guys playing instruments


Denise Bagley 3 years, 4 months ago

I personally think a recreation center would better serve this community. As Tom said, our summers here are short, so why not build a facility that could be used year-round? It would also bring people and money into the community. We drive to Meeker to use their rec center and spend our money in Rio Blanco County. I'm sure it would also be a great incentive for prospective businesses or those looking to relocate or open an office in Craig. I know a rec center would have to be paid for through tax dollars, but I believe it would be a great investment for the future of Moffat County.


Becky Plummer 3 years, 4 months ago

As a resident who lives on Thompson Hill I for one don't like the idea of having to listen to the bands playing till all hours of the morning, inside our houses over our tv's we put up with the occasional concert, but to have to put up with it on a regular basis is to much to ask for. You already could put up a stage at the fairgrounds in the big empty dirt lot behind the barn. Or better yet instead of spending all that money on something unneccesary spend it on fixing the Luttrell Barn and utilize it.


btyjo77 3 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree with both above comments... a recreation center is far more useful for our little community. We also go to Meeker to use their rec center and love it!!


Brian Kotowski 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm unclear on the proposed funding: “We would build it using our natural resource and mineral money so that it wouldn’t be paid for with taxpayer dollars.” Are those public or private funds? If they're public, calling them non-taxpayer dollars seems a distinction without a difference. If they're private, does that mean the facility would be a private concern operating on county-owned property?


melonie barrett 3 years, 4 months ago

The county does what they want and does not care about the residents thoughts.---- ----


hello81625 3 years, 4 months ago

I find it quite interesting that Dave Pike is in Telluride "researching" while the Craig Parks and Rec Baseball tournament is being run by Meeker. Mr. Pike has yet to make and appearance.


Brian Kotowski 3 years, 4 months ago

If the tourney is being efficiently & competently run, who cares if Pike is on site? One sign of a good manager is well-trained staff who can re relied upon to undertake major assignments.


jennysr38 3 years, 4 months ago

Once again, don't you have better things to spend your money on Moffat County? And here's an idea, how about asking Moffat County residents what they want? Instead of what the commissioners want. Not that it matters they will do what they want to anyway. I agree with the previous comment. How about a Rec Center? That would keep a lot of money in the county and would reach a larger group of people than a concert venue would. One more point. I certainly hope that this trip to Telluride isn't being paid for by the tax payers. But wouldn't surprise me if it was. Glad to be moving out of this town soon.


Becky Plummer 3 years, 4 months ago

Just like the new clinic, they will do what they want, the way they want to. Public comment or input is not wanted. Like the saying goes, it's time for a change...


citizensforgrowth 3 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree with David Moore, a smaller venue would be more appropriate. Though "the Red Rocks of the western slope" would be something to see. Kind of like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska. The community leaders have always had an unrealistic expectation or vision for this town. I am always for improving the appearance and quality of life in our town but like to keep things real and in perspective. We will never be Steamboat Springs or Aspen. Remember back in the day when the wave pool was going to bring in droves of tourists and we would be awash in cash? I am starting to think that the Recreation Center would be a better bang for our buck.


coloradosam 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for a Recreation Center in Craig. The amphitheater sounds ridiculous! Another one of Tom's "great" ideas? I'm still upset about his last "improvements" he pushed out at Loudy. I wonder how much that cost us to destroy part of the park? I really hope that Loudy can remain more of a nature area. If they want to improve the park, how about updating some of the playground equipment. Between the flooding and the short summer season, I just don't know how an amphitheater would be a logical choice.


jalana 3 years, 4 months ago

I would hardly call Loudy Simson a "GEM"

How about taking care and improving on what is already there? The kids playground equipment is in disrepair has anyone from the county taken a close look at the wooden sliding board area.It is a mess,rotting and falling apart.The other areas are disgusting .So much so that we had to clean up broken bottles in the sand areas before we could have our kids play.We have not been back since.The fishing area is not going to be fishable before long.They have let some sort of water plants take over them.The poor fish are gasping for air as the plants are choking out the oxygen.

How about spending the money on something worthwhile that the kids can enjoy all year long like a rec center.Funny how little ole Meeker can afford that beautiful rec center but we can not.Maybe less spending on free health care for county employees and we could afford one too????


George Robertson 3 years, 3 months ago

jalana, just so you'll know, fish dont gasp for air and plants don't choke out oxygen, they Produce it. Also the Government should not be responsible for your recreation, that's up to the private sector.


jalana 3 years, 3 months ago

Nimrod...Submergent plants grow in varying depths and serve as structure for many species, depending on that depth. Common species of submergent plants are Coontail, Hydrilla, Pondweed, and Milfoil. Plants are also valuable in providing needed oxygen in the water through photosynthesis. However, too many submergent plants can be a detriment too. During the nighttime hours, the plants will actually take in oxygen, thus lowering the oxygen in the water for the fish. As plants die, bacteria will work to decompose the organics. These bacteria will also use up available oxygen and it can cause an oxygen crash. Submergent plants can also limit some fishing opportunities, especially in dense areas and/or shallow areas where the plants grow all the way to the surface. And for the record I do not need MC to provide me/my kids with entertainment.That is why we have our own maintained equipment in our yard. All I am saying is why not take care of what our tax dollars has already invested in like loudys fishing area and the parks equipment???


melonie barrett 3 years, 3 months ago

Hell,They can not even take care of the lawn at loudy,went out to watch the games and I was ashamed to tell people I am from craig.Lots of people asking why the fields look like a hay field,and I told them to contact the moffat county court house and ask for lenny ,the one in charge ??????????


David Moore 3 years, 3 months ago

If they build an amphitheater on a flood plain, they can spend the summer pumping the water out to make the fields green. Water is cheap, I used 7400 gallons on my property last month, my bill was a staggering $19. How about a pump from the river to water the lawns of Loudy? Makes more sense than an amphitheater that would be full of mud and goo for half the year.


mrscromer 3 years, 3 months ago

Yes....Loudy's ball field is a sad site...compare it to neighboring towns ours looks the worse...dead grass....scoreboards that aren't working....sprinklers that don't really work properly...holes in the fences...just to name a few things there...and then there is the playgrounds for the kids..very old and antique looking things...would be nice to see things improve there before adding to the problem of very poor maintenance and where does all the fund from the coed and youth softball money go to anyways.....just saying...would like to see things better out there...so so sad to see it going to crap.....lets fix what is there already and improve and beautify what we already have......something to be proud of and welcome traveling tournaments to help raise money for the community..


jasper123 3 years, 2 months ago

wow wont craig be great first a state of the art fire training center and now a amphitheater


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