City News

It’s been almost 15 years since the idea of a performance venue named in honor of Barbara Antonsen was first brought up. Even though construction is finally near completion, those looking to celebrate its official opening will have to wait a bit longer.

Last week the city of Sedona decided that the grand opening of the outdoor center at Posse Grounds Park will be delayed from the fall to the spring.

Associate city engineer James Crowley said the project is still on track for a mid-November completion. However, some of the landscaping, including larger trees, will not be planted until late winter or early spring. In the meantime, the venue can be rented out.

“There have been a lot of bumps in the road but nothing insurmountable,” he said. “The city is very happy with how the project is coming along. It’s going to be an amazing venue.”

Once the construction is complete, the venue will become the responsibility of the Sedona Parks and Recreation department — the same as any other city-owned park.

“I think we just really are trying not to rush it, because at this point, just let it be good,” Parks and Recreation Manager Rachel Murdoch said. “Let it turn into the best it can be.”

Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn agreed.

“While we had hoped to have the grand opening of Barbara’s Park Amphitheater this fall, we also want to make sure the venue has all the final touches complete before its big unveiling to the public,” she said. “We look forward to celebrating this much anticipated venue, alongside the Friends of the Posse Grounds, this coming spring.”

Murdoch said they may do a small gathering when it is completed, and then do a public open house in the spring. That means it will be rentable even before an open house has taken place.  
“I have been getting calls to use the venue,” she said, adding that she’s working on an informational rental packet for the venue. “Most people though have been surprised that it is day-use only. Already three events have changed their minds when they found that out.”  

In a letter to their supporters, Madeleine O’Callaghan, of Friends of the Posse Grounds, addressed the reason for the delay.

“We have long awaited this day and we are going to wait a little bit more,” she wrote. “It is clear that the infrastructure of all the major buildings and the stage will be completed by Nov. 3 [the city has stated the contract finish date is Nov. 14] but the finishing touches will not be ready for a grand opening. We want it to be ready for you and for ongoing performances before we hold an opening event. Hang tight — we will keep you informed. All is good.”


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