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Amphitheater plan enters new stage

A proposed $13-million amphitheater for outdoor pop music concerts has cleared another hurdle.

The City Commission on Monday night approved a measure that allows the project to reach the design and rezoning stages. The 4-1 vote followed a public hearing during which some residents expressed concern about noise and traffic.

Commissioners said they could still stop the project when the property comes up for rezoning if concerns about potential traffic problems are not clarified.

The amphitheater would be built on 113 acres across from Cincinnati Reds Stadium at the corner of Park and Coronet roads. The facility would have permanent seating for 7,000 people and could accommodate up to 20,000 fans for major concerts, said James H. Shimberg Jr., an attorney working on the project.

The commission approved an amendment to the 1991 development order for the 1,400-acre Gregg Business Center on Park Road, where PACE Music Group of Texas, in partnership with Sony, plans the amphitheater.

The vote helps avoid a lengthy review that could have delayed the application for up to a year. The commission decided that the amphitheater would not have a substantially different effect on traffic and services from a light industrial space already approved for the park.

But that didn't prevent some nearby residents from arguing against approval.

George Gibbs, who lives at 1415 S Park Road, described himself as the amphitheater's nearest neighbor and said he didn't believe he would be able to live there when concerts begin.

Garry J. Hannon, a Pace vice president, told commissioners the amphitheater will provide some 300 construction jobs, six to 10 permanent jobs and 300-400 part-time jobs at performances.