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Politics and Government

After six months and $50 million, Lakeview Amphitheater construction is complete

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced on Tuesday that construction is now complete on the new Lakeview Amphitheater along Onondaga Lake. Country singer Miranda Lambert will be the opening act, scheduled to perform on September 3.

Miranda Lambert is the only act scheduled for this year, but Mahoney said they’ve already begun booking acts for next year. The amphitheater was built in about six months for $50 million. The project stayed on time and on budget and Mahoney credits that to it being a “design-build project,” meaning contractors submitted a single bid rather than separately bidding on each part of the project.

"If we had done this in a traditional way and designed all the way to 100 percent and then went out for bids, it would have been beyond our budget and we would have gone back to the drawing board," Mahoney said. "It would have delayed things and we wouldn't be open."

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Design-build was extended in the most recent New York State budget through 2016.

"I think it's a good model for communities across the state," Mahoney said. "When they say we took a chance in Onondaga County and we did a design-build project and everything went as planned and we got it done far more quickly than any project has been done around here, I think that it will make it easier for the next community to follow our lead." 

Mahoney said the Tappan Zee Bridge is the only other “design-build project” in New York State. The amphitheater holds 5,000 seats under the pavilion and the lawn, where you can bring chairs, holds about 12,500. Concert promoters told the county the lawn could probably hold more. 

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Mahoney said the venue will attract young people to the area, which some central New Yorkers have said is a top priority facing the region.     

"I ran for county executive because my husband and I are raising our kids here and we want this to be the place that they might choose to live someday," Mahoney said. "I know we need a job, but we also need a quality of life and we need to be on an upward trajectory."

Some Solvay residents were concerned about the noise levels generated from the amphitheater. Mahoney said there are areas that will be able to hear the concerts, but it will not generate more noise than shows at the New York State Fair's Grandstand does. 

The amphitheater offers a new view of Onondaga Lake, many local residents probably haven’t seen before. The site was built on toxic wastebeds which the Honeywell company was required to spend millions of dollars covering with soil.