WAITE PARK -- The Ledge Amphitheater in Waite Park is getting its finishing touches as the city gets ready to host its first event.  Some signage outside the venue will be going up in the next few weeks.

The total cost for the metro area's newest entertainment venue was about $12 million with the money coming from the half-cent sales tax as well as state bonding money.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

City Administrator Shaunna Johnson says, because there is bonding money involved, the city can't make money off the venue itself. However, the potential financial benefit to the overall area could be huge.

It's the value that it adds to the community.  What we estimate for this place there will probably be on average 60,000 to 80,000 people in a normal year that will be coming in and visiting.  We have estimated that to be an $8 million to $9 million economic impact anually.

The Ledge features a separate VIP area next to the main stage, reserved seating for corporate events, a separate space with a kitchen for the performers and their crews, five dressing rooms, and seating in the general admission area for up to 4,300 people.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Waite Park is hosting a ribbon-cutting and open house on Tuesday, July 13th from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m.

Johnson says they built the facility to be flexible to host a variety of types of events.

When you come out here you are going to see that the chairs are movable for a reason. We hope to do lots of different kinds of events.

The first show is the Rock Gods on Friday, July 16th. GREAT Theatre presents Cinderella starting on July 22nd. And the first national act is the Beach Boys on August 11th.

Johnson says they are looking into holding an Octoberfest at The Ledge this fall, and they are looking into some winter events as well.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Southern Hospitality has been hired to handle all the catering, liquor licensing, and concessions.  There will be portable stations and food and beverages set up during big shows, and a second future concession stand is planned for the future.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

As for parking, they have a paved lot as well as an adjacent grassy area, and they have a contract with the neighboring car dealership to use their grass field when needed.  Parking will be free with your ticket.

There are trails around The Ledge that will be open to the public all the time.

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Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

 

Photo by WJON,com's Jim Maurice
Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice