Sparks approves nearly $1.3M for new concert venue

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) Plans for the new amphitheater in Victorian Square are continuing to move forward. In a unanimous vote, the Sparks City Council approved the request from Marnell Gaming to help pay for some of the construction costs of the 8,600-seat concert venue.

Event center rendering courtesy Nugget Casino

Marnell Gaming, the company that owns The Nugget, asked the Sparks City Council for the nearly $1.3 million to help pay for construction of the new site.

Councilwoman Charlene Bybee (Ward 4) says the request was expected.

"When the Nugget first came to us with plans for an outdoor arena we knew that there was the probability and possibility that they would ask for lodging tax money to help do that, because that's what the lodging tax dollars are for," she says.

According to the Nevada Division of Tourism's Fiscal Year 2017 Report, Sparks used its lodging tax dollars to help fund a few projects, including the Victorian Square Corridor Project.

"So it fell right into the same category that the movie theater did, and that's the appropriate use for money that's been sitting since the recession. You know, we've had money in that fund and we haven't had any money to spend it on, because there was nothing happening during the recession years," Bybee says.

With the current proposal, the venue will be limited to ten large events per year and those events can last no later than 10 p.m. Bybee says outside of those events, the city plans to take advantage of the site as well.

"For Pumpkin Palooza, for 39 North Pole, for city events and local events we're going to have that ability to use it not just for the concert series, which will be phenomenal, but it will be multi-use for other activities," she says.

The first concerts booked for August 2019 are Toby Keith, Hank Williams and Lady Antebellum.

A groundbreaking date has not been set.