Water Works Park’s Lauridsen Amphitheater Ready for First Concert

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Water Works Park's Lauridsen Amphitheater is set to open on time for its first event, despite the weather central Iowa has seen this spring.

Country Artist Clint Black will perform Saturday, June 22nd facing the north side of the stage.

Water Works Park Foundation Executive Director Sam Carroll said the amphitheater can be used from both sides. The north side will be called the Lauridsen Amphitheater.

“It can play to a larger event out here to the north and to this lawn. Big crowds, not just concerts but like festivals or that type of thing,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the north side of the venue can hold up to 25,000 people.

When the south side of the amphitheater is used it will be called the Killinger Family Stage.

Carroll said the majority of construction is completed. The weather central Iowa has seen this year has impacted details like landscaping and the two play areas for children in the park.

Carroll said the amphitheater was designed on the highest point in Water Works Park.

“It takes a really big flood event to impact this area. In March, we had the fifth highest recorded crest in the park and it didn’t get up to the amphitheater. It did get into this lawn. Down here it is about four feet lower, but all of that area stayed pretty much dry,” Carroll said.

Carroll said Water Works understands the area may flood, and they kept that in mind throughout the whole designing process.

“You’ll see in the design, even in our sidewalks, resemble river beds. Water flows through, we have got a water system that will actually... water that fills in here will get pumped back into the holding base so they will get filtered on through,” Carroll said.

There is a marketplace for food vendors and trucks to quickly get in and out of the area for events.

Carroll said Water Works hopes to completely finish the project by the end of July.

In addition, Water Works Park and the city of Des Moines are adding the Ruan Connector Tunnel to go underneath Fleur Drive. It will connect Gray’s Lake Park and Water Works Park.

Carroll said, “They are excavating to start putting the tunnel in starting on the Gray’s Lake side. It’s actually prefabricated off-site and then will be assembled on site,” Carroll said.

Carroll said they hope the tunnel will be completed by the end of the year. Depending on the weather the city will either add landscaping this upcoming fall or finish it in the spring. The tunnel should be fully functional by Spring 2020.

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