Work on Levitt Pavilion amphitheater underway in Ruby Hill Park

By Joe Vaccarelli |
The Denver Post

City breaks ground on amphitheater that will bring in 50 free concerts each year

It’s been an idea nearly five years in the making, but the Levitt Pavilion amphitheater at Ruby Hill Park will soon be a reality and should be open in July 2017.

The city and Levitt Pavilion Denver officially broke ground on the project Thursday at the southwest Denver park that will bring a state-of-the-art music venue to the city that will offer 50 free concerts and 60-70 other events each year.

“This is for the community. It’s a game changer for local musicians,” said Chris Zacher, CEO of Levitt Pavilion Denver, a nonprofit that raised money to build the amphitheater.

The facility will join other Levitt Pavilions in Texas, California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, among others, under the Levitt Foundation, an organization that looks to build community spaces and bring people together through music.

“What’s going to rise from the ground is much more than a music venue,” said Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Levitt Foundation, adding that other venues average about 100,000 people a year for the free events. “It’s a platform for local musicians and a welcoming, vibrant destination for people of all backgrounds. Everyone will be welcome here to enjoy incredible music.”

The $4.8 million project is funded by Levitt Pavilion Denver and the city through bond funds. The Levitt Foundation chipped in $400,000, while the local arm raised $1.6 million. Denver brought in $2.8 million in bond money.

Two major donors were from the marijuana Industry, including the Colorado Harvest Company and O.pen VAPE, who donated $250,000 between the two companies, making them the largest corporate sponsor for the pavilion.

“I’m excited. It’s a great way for a marijuana company to participant with the community and the city and support an awesome nonprofit,” Colorado Harvest Company CEO Tim Cullen said.

Zacher said fundraising for the project was difficult and that construction costs have risen about 30 percent since he started working on the pavilion.

The project had its ups and downs and it even looked like it may not happen at times, but City Councilman Jolon Clark, who represents the area, said he is really excited for the pavilion and its role in the redevelopment of the city’s third-largest park, which also includes a bike park that opened earlier this year.

“This will be the crowned jewel of the redevelopment,” Clark said, noting that his predecessor in District 7, Chris Nevitt, was instrumental in getting the project off the ground and thanked Mayor Michael Hancock for his support during the process.

Hancock said he is looking forward to next summer.

“Other than God, there is nothing more powerful in bringing people together than music.” Hancock said. “There is no more powerful voice than music, and next summer we’re coming together here at Levitt Pavilion.”

In the community, Athmar Park resident Michele Brown said she is excited for the pavilion, but has heard some concerns about concert and construction noise.

“I’m really excited to walk here with the kids or ride bikes down here,” she said.

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Levitt Pavilion Denver