VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WEHT) – Vanderburgh County commissioners are inching closer to their goal of finalizing funding for a renovation of the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum.
The Memorial Coliseum, once a bustling downtown feature, is nearing a facelift that will continue its legacy. Plans are in the works for a multi million dollar renovation project that will improve the interior by adding retractable theater seating, curtain walls for condensed space and open concept seating for larger concerts and events. Plans also include adding elevators for easy access to balcony-level seating.
“We want to connect the arts community here, including, for example, the arts council, the Civic Theater, and other groups. We want to welcome them into a fully-renovated and fully-modern Coliseum.” Said Cheryl Musgrave, Vanderburgh County commissioner. “We’re hoping to build a 2 story addition on the back that will have dressing rooms and support rooms for the stage, and much-improved loading docks.”
For decades, the Memorial Coliseum has been a landmark for the city of Evansville. Not only has it played a role in the city’s history – it looks to play another role in Evansville’s future.
Kelley Coures of the Department of Metropolitan Development says “Its continuity with the past. You’re right across the street from the 1891 courthouse building, you’re just right across the street from the old Vanderburgh County Jail.” Coures says renovating and maintaining the use of the coliseum will help bridge its history across several generations. “This building has seen an awful lot of Evansville’s history, so it’s always exciting to me to see new use and new capacity given to a building like that.”
Commissioner Cheryl Musgraves says Vanderburgh County plans to use $6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, in addition to grant funding and donations, to help fund the project. “The inside will be refreshed, it will be more useable, but it will be the most flexible floor space and seating space in town.”