More than 40 people packed into the top floor of Dillon Town Hall on Tuesday for the town council’s work session and meeting regarding a controversial proposal to overhaul the Dillon Amphitheatre. The new structure would be considerably larger and feature a more modern design that some residents have objected to, saying it’s a poor fit for the town and that it could block views.
At the work session, architects discussed options for exterior materials — such as wood, stone and copper slats — but the overall design remained unchanged. Councilmembers had slight disagreements over which materials to use, but were pleased overall with that menu of options.
Later in the evening, residents delivered at times impassioned denunciations of the plan, while others, including several representatives of the parks and recreation department, praised the council for their hard work in forging ahead with the long-awaited upgrades.
“The materials you showed us are all very attractive, but it’s putting lipstick on a pig,” said Roland Gaasch, one of the proposal’s most vocal detractors. He claimed to have collected the signatures of 164 people who disagreed with the proposed design, 80 of whom he said were Dillon residents.
The atmosphere was contentious but respectful, with most petitioners thanking the council for their hard work and service before characterizing the proposal as a boondoggle unlikely to deliver the councilmembers desired economic boom.
While some speakers expressed concern that the town was forging ahead too quickly, former councilmember Lucinda Burns said she was glad to see progress finally being made on the project.
“This conversation has been going on for a long time,” she said. “This is not rushed at all. I’m very excited to see us finally move forward with this, and I think it’s time to bring the amphitheater into the 21st century.”
Jennifer Castle, chair of the parks and recreation committee, lent the full support of her group.
“The amphitheater is successful now, but it could be even more successful,” she said. “It is time to move forward.”
Another speaker drew parallels to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison. Development of that venue did obstruct some views, but it has nonetheless become one of the state’s premier concert destinations, she said.
At the end of comments, town clerk Jo-Ann Tyson noted for the record that the town had received five letters supporting the project and one opposing it in the past several days.
Architecture firm Sink Combs Dethlefs will present revised renderings based on council feedback and citizen comments at either the Oct. 4 or 18 council meeting. If the new plans are adopted, the town will move forward with a bidding process and develop a construction timeline. Officials hope to finalize the plans with the Planning and Zoning committee at their November or December meeting.