Rapid growth posed a dilemma in the Town of Lexington. In 2010, the fourth-fastest growing municipality in South Carolina had already grown 83 percent since 2000 and was projected to grow another 80 percent in the coming decade. Town leaders implemented a Vision Plan in 2012 to preserve Lexington's small-town charm and quality of life.
The Vision Plan proposed improvements to the town intended to attract newcomers, foster new economic development and improve quality of life for current residents. One of the primary goals in the Vision Plan was to create an outdoor entertainment venue.
The town reached its goal with the opening of the 900-seat Icehouse Amphitheater in the heart of Lexington. The venue's first free concert, featuring the Root Doctors, was held in October of 2016. This came after a groundbreaking ceremony in September of 2015 just weeks before the state's historic flood, a natural disaster that resulted in some construction delays.
The amphitheater's completion reflected an 18-month process that gathered the input of more than 400 community members, including town committees, the chamber of commerce, school district, state environmental regulators, faith-based organizations, homeowner associations, young professionals, downtown merchants and the general public.
The town used its general fund to purchase, clear and grade the property and created a downtown tax increment financing district to pay for the construction of the amphitheater.
The TIF district consists of seven local taxing jurisdictions, including the Town of Lexington, Lexington County, Lexington School District One, Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, Midlands Technical College, the Riverbanks Zoo and Lexington County Community Mental Health Center.
The new venue is building community by encouraging "feet on the street" and connecting traffic to Lexington Square Park, Virginia Hylton Park, the Lexington Municipal Complex and the Palmetto Collegiate Institute. Amphitheater events give residents a centralized meeting place, while providing a safe, family-fun environment.
Contact Jennifer Dowden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803.356.8238.