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Lakeview Amphitheater gets some upgrades for its second concert season

From new concession stands to new docks where fans can skip vehicle traffic and tie up their boats, there are a few new changes for the Lakeview Amphitheater's second concert season.

From new concession stands to new docks where fans can skip vehicle traffic and tie up their boats, there are a few new changes for the Lakeview Amphitheater's second concert season.

The dock has enough space for about 25 boats to tie up before a show. It may be the quickest way in and out of a concert. Starting Wednesday for $20 boaters can rent a space for the night and walk right up to their seats.

Over the course of 22 concerts during the venue's first season in 2016, County Executive Joanie Mahoney noted a number of improvements she knew people wanted to see. Getting in and out quicker was one of the most common desires.

The dock is one attempt to address that request; the state set aside $750,000 to build the docks for up to 25 boats right behind the venue. "We're getting it done and it's getting done quicker and faster than I could have ever imagined," said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, who helped secure the state money.

DOT Commissioner Matt Driscoll announced other improvements for the amphitheater, like newly paved pathways and a new handicap accessible parking lot. "We worked very closely with the county this year and installed new ADA compliance parking for about 125 users," said Driscoll.

This week crews are putting the finishing touches on a permanent concession stand at the top of the hill looking down at the stage.

Collectively the upgrades are meant to make catching a show by the lake more enjoyable, and Mahoney says more changes are in the pipeline. For starters, she says she'd like to see use of the lake expanded in the future. "We also hope to have a taxi service, a water taxi, so people can park at Onondaga Lake Park, directly across the lake by water taxi," said Mahoney.

Driscoll says another upgrade in the works is a fix to one of the biggest complaints at the amphitheater: dust. "We'll be rebuilding the entire orange lot from soup to nuts and we'll be able to build the westbound access ramp right here as well," said Driscoll. "It will include all the drainage work that does not exist now, lighting, the ring road - it will all be paved and striped to accommodate 7,500 cars, and the benefit of the striping of course is it's more orderly."

Those upgrades take money; one way to get that would be to sell the naming rights for the amphitheater. "There will be a competitive process and we have heard from people who are interested. We kind of like the 'Lakeview Amphitheater,' but there is a tremendous resource available that would generate the revenue to continue to make these improvements if we partner with a title sponsor," said Mahoney.

For now those changes are off in the horizon; the upgrades for this year's concert season debut Saturday when the Zac Brown Band comes to town. You can see a full schedule of concerts by clicking here.

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