Number one on my list is a professional entertainment venue, a venue that would provide comfortable seating, easy access and good acoustics. Currently, we use the Toyota Center which was built as a sports venue and which serves as a very poor substitute for an entertainment center. My wife and I used to subscribe to the Broadway productions that periodically come to the Tri-Cities for one-day performances only at the Windemere Theater — a poor makeover for entertainment. But challenges of that venue (steep stairs with no railings, uncomfortable seats with little leg room, ice beneath your feet and poor acoustics) make it an uncomfortable, if not dangerous, experience. My wife has orthopedic issues and she has difficulties negotiating the steep stairs. I have seen many people stumble and fall or nearly fall negotiating these stairs. Broken hips and other bones or joints are a serious threat to the health of attendees. I have heard several people, besides us, who have claimed that they will not attend any performance at this venue for various reasons. The Tri-Cities needs a decent, comfortable, enjoyable entertainment venue.
With the redevelopment of centrally located Vista Field, there is a great opportunity to design and build a professional-style entertainment center close to transportation, lodging, restaurants and shopping. Not only would such a facility attract more attendees, but the Tri-Cities could get some bigger name entertainers, perhaps for more than a one-night stand. Let’s make haste to include an entertainment venue in the redevelopment plans at Vista Field.
By the way, a water park for a limited crowd is not the type of facility that will attract more local attendees like an entertainment venue. That’s why the water park went down to defeat at the polls.