Last year, the building blocks of something spectacular were set in Saginaw's City Center. It started with a clean slate. A plot of land across from one of the Great Lakes Bay Region's most celebrated venues, the Dow Event Center. Then came a lush, grassy lawn. Parking. A stage. And now, a year later, this hotspot is a one-of-a-kind outdoor entertainment venue bringing everything from big name artists to local musicians and community events, right to the heart of Saginaw's City Center.
In its first year, the new FirstMerit Bank Event Park has hosted everything from nationally known artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd tribute bands. It also opened its gates for dozens of community events, from a Rock 'N Ribs Fest (coming again August 9th) to an Ultimate Tailgate Party, and even Thunder Thursdays- a treat for area bikers to ride their motorcycles into the event park for live entertainment on Thursday summer nights (the 3rd Thursday of each month from June-September).
While the FirstMerit Bank Event Park may have already had a roaring first year since the stunning 5,500-seat outdoor venue set up camp last summer, this gathering spot for culture, community, and amazing entertainment will only continue to skyrocket, thanks to the recent 2015 State of Michigan budget approval that includes $1.7 million in funding for the Saginaw Art Museum and FirstMerit Bank Event Park.
"Over the course of the budget process, I advocated for the Saginaw Art Museum, FirstMerit Bank Event Park, funding for the Saginaw River dredging pilot study and the Flint River Dike system - a total of nearly $3 million," said State Senator Roger Kahn. "These projects will enrich our residents' lives through enhancement of the arts, improved access to outdoor entertainment, potential jobs related to increased river commercial traffic and preserving our safety through maintaining effective flood control in southern Saginaw County."
So what will this new funding bring to the already incredible FirstMerit Bank Event Park? It'll help spearhead phase three construction, including the addition of dressing rooms, restrooms, and more to enhance the existing structure, already complete with a state of the art stage and pavilion, as well as grassy lawn seating.
"We are very appreciative of the State's support of the final construction phase for the Event Park," said Saginaw County Building Authority Chair and Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman. "Public and private sector collaboration has led to the redevelopment of a large Saginaw parcel, helped revitalize Downtown and has provided our residents with a fantastic outdoor venue."
Want to learn more about the FirstMerit Bank Event Park? Check out the full events calendar or buy tickets for an upcoming show - and don't forget to follow FirstMerit Bank Event Park on Facebook and Twitter for the latest announcements on artists and performers soon to hit the FirstMerit stage.