STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A record budget deficit for Macomb County has left the controversial Freedom Hill County Park, home of the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, as a prime target on the chopping block as the county tries to slash their way back into the black.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Macomb County commissioners have indicated that a tax hike is not viable so they must make "severe" cuts which leaves the continued operation of the park as "not an option."
"The county board has already proven that it cannot properly run a park, let alone a concert venue," said Commissioner Leon Drolet, "It may be best to move on and close the park."
First opened in 1976, the park earns revenue from parking fees but ultimately costs the county approximately 1 million a year, largely due to subsidizing the operations of the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre.
The Freedom Hill Amphitheatre has been at the center of a contentious series of lawsuits in recent years between Hillside Productions and the county with allegations of fraud and obstruction of business, disputes over parking fees, noise levels and other issues. This may have led, at least in part, to the lack of enthusiasm for the venue among commissioners.
The park isn't completely bereft of allies though and Commissioner Phil DiMaria is against closing the park. DiMaria advocates adding attractions to the park to help drive revenue such as volleyball courts, disc golf, a baseball diamond, a putting green and an ice-skating rink.
"The potential is enormous," said DiMaria, D-Eastpointe told the Detroit Free Press. "I don't think we should get rid of the park under any circumstance."