Mansfield purchases The LOT

October 8, 2022
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Photo courtesy of the City of Mansfield

By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

The city of Mansfield took ownership of The LOT Downtown this week, purchasing the outdoor amphitheater from the nonprofit group that built it in 2015.

“They are taking the lease back,” explained Justin Gilmore, president of the Historic Mansfield Performance Park, the 501(c)3 that owned and operated The LOT.

“It was built by us but the city owned the land,” Gilmore explained.

The partnership, as described by Deputy City Manager Shelly Lanners, began in 2015 with the Historic Mansfield Performance Park leasing the 2.08-acre site for $1 per year for 30 years with an option for two additional 10-year leases.

On Oct. 3, the Mansfield City Council voted unanimously to give the nonprofit group an $800,000 grant from the Downtown TIRZ Fund to pay for the infrastructure the group has added to the site. The grant terminated the lease and made the city the sole owner of the outdoor venue.

“We are still going to be operating,” Gilmore said. “It’s a good thing for both sides. They have other functions that they want to do. It’s a big undertaking. We are hamstrung on some of the financial pieces.

“We’ll be able to do a lot bigger and better shows and a lot more festivals,” he said. “Not more frequent, but bigger events. We have no staff and COVID hurt us really bad.”

In September, the city awarded the Historic Mansfield Performance Park $150,000 in hotel/motel tax funds to put on entertainment at The LOT in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Like all HOT funds, the group will spend the funds then be reimbursed by the city for qualified uses from the hotel/motel tax funds.

The city will now operate The LOT, which will be overseen by the community engagement program. Groups wanting to use the property will apply for special permits and work with city staff.

“It will take us a moment to gear up and utilize it this year,” Lanners said. “I think HMPP will utilize it. It will be very similar to how it has been used in the past. I don’t know that much will change.”

As far as future uses for the downtown property and possible developments, Lanners said “I think the city council will determine the highest and best use of the property.”

The property, 110 S. Main St., is adjacent to Fire Station No. 1. The Mansfield Public Library was located on the site until a new building was constructed in 2001.

The LOT opened in the summer of 2016 with country music performers Sawyer Brown as the opening act.

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