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Iowa Father, Son Team Plan 40,000-Cap. Amphitheater

DAVENPORT, IA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Loren and Mike Arp, a father/son team from Davenport, Iowa, have announced plans to construct a $5 million amphitheater on 90 acres of their 300-acre centennial farm off two major interstates in the Quad-Cities area.

The pair is hoping to have the stage ready for business by June of 2008, and plan to draw people from a four-hour driving radius to see outdoor concerts by major entertainment acts.

“There’s nothing else like this in Iowa,” Loren Arp, a physical therapist, told the Quad-Cities Dispatch. “There are indoor venues or amphitheaters if you drive to another state, but this will help put the Quad-Cities on the map.”

Some local residents have claimed the plan is overly-ambitious, but Loren said concert promoters and agents say the location is prime and there shouldn’t be any problem drawing top acts to the shed.

“We’re right on I-80 and that’s accessible to a lot of people across the country, as well as only 15 minutes from the Quad-Cities Airport,” he said.

The site will be able to hold up to 40,000 fans with mostly lawn seating, as well as reserved patio-style seating for up to 500.

The plans also call for movable fences to better accommodate smaller crowds. Ticket pricing will be based on comparable Midwest marketing venues.

The Arps decided to build the shed about a year ago, after Mike Arp – who owns two trucking companies, a limousine company and manages the Quad City Bleacher Bums bar – helped coordinate a concert in downtown Davenport.

They discussed various ways to use their land but decided on an amphitheater. Once reason for the plan is that the land has no sewer available, so some development ideas weren’t plausible.

The stage would have dressing rooms and bathrooms with septic systems, and portable toilets will be brought onto the property.

The pair has met with city staff and plan to apply for a special-use permit. They have also met with the Iowa Department of Transportation, and are completing financing details with an unnamed investor.

Bob Fox, GM of the Mississippi Valley Fair, has also met with the Arps to discuss the feasibility of the project, as well as the downsides he’s seen in 33 years of operating an outdoor music venue, including the cost of acts, insurance issues and Mother Nature.

Fox, however, said he wishes the Arps the best of luck with their ambitious plan: “I hope the project works out for them. But this is a dangerous business and a lot of people have made a small fortune by spending a large one.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers