The Friday night summer rock concerts in Lockport will move to a different location in 2013.
The nine shows of the Labatt Canal Concert Series will be held in a city-owned parking lot at Chestnut and Elm streets, rather than in the courtyard of Ulrich City Centre two blocks to the south, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.
The decision makes the management of the Lockport Public Library and the Lockport Family YMCA nervous. That is the main parking lot for their customers.
But steps will be taken to prevent the concerts from hurting those organizations, Tucker said.
The shows have been held at Ulrich City Centre since 2008, but Tucker and promoter Kathy Paradowski, who has a three-year deal to book the acts, said the venue, which is walled in on three sides, had become too small.
“We didn’t have room to grow at Ulrich Centre,” Paradowski said. “If we want to stay with the big acts, and we do, we’ve got to have room to grow.”
The Chestnut Street site is larger than Ulrich City Centre, Paradowski pointed out.
“It’s more open,” she added. “The sound will be better, because there won’t be as many buildings for the sound to bounce off of.”
Tucker said the stage will be erected at the Elm Street end of the parking lot, the farthest point from the library. The city will continue to pay $8,800 per show for stage rental and will pick up police and fire overtime costs.
The city had two years on its contract with landlord David L. Ulrich.
“I let them out of it," Ulrich said. “They can do what they want.”
“It got to be a little cumbersome. A couple of businesses over there didn’t like it. A lot did,” Tucker said.
Elmer A. Granchelli, who owns buildings near Ulrich City Centre, has written to the city complaining about vandalism he blamed on concertgoers. Tucker said that he checked the dates and most of the dates of vandalism weren’t concert nights.
Paradowski said Labatt was pleased with the move. She said next year, the price of beer at the shows will be cut, as Labatt will sell draft beer instead of cans.
Tucker said he did not believe parking for the YMCA and the library will be an issue. He said the area in front of the library will be “roped off” and parking will be available in the paved area north of the former Jubilee supermarket, which is to be razed in the next year or so to become the site of Lockport’s new ice arena.
Mark W. Albiez, executive director of the YMCA, said his building is open until 8:30 p.m. Fridays. The set-up for the concerts begins in the early afternoon, and music usually starts at about 5:30.
He said parking behind the building is unacceptable. “We wouldn’t ask parents with strollers to come through the crowd,” Albiez said. “If parking becomes limited after 3 on a Friday, we’ll probably just close.”
“I was told they want to make sure we can operate, but I don’t know what that means,” said Beverly Federspiel, public library director. The library is open until 5 p.m. Fridays.
All the parking for both organizations is city-owned. “We own nothing except where the library sits,” Federspiel said.