SASKATOON -- Saskatoon could be a step closer to having a permanent outdoor festival site.

A Saskatoon city committee is set to consider an approval report for a permanent outdoor festival site on Tuesday.

The city has made a concept plan for the site public, which proposes it be located in Friendship Park.

“Saskatoon is renowned for its festivals and events,” Lynne Lacroix, general manager of community services, said in a news release.

“From music festivals to celebrations of local food and record-setting snowball fights, the amount, variety and scale of events in the city is important to the cultural, social and economic life of Saskatoon. Against the backdrop of the South Saskatchewan river, a permanent site will allow events four seasons of the year and provide event planners and the tourism industry stability in planning world-class events.”

A final feasibility study identified the preferred site to be centrally located in downtown Saskatoon along the South Saskatchewan River.

The study came in response to concerns about how some spaces used now were not designed for large scale festivals and have resulted in damage to grass and trees in those areas as well as other general wear and tear.  

If the project is seen through to completion, it would cost roughly $12.9 million according to the city.

The site would be divided into three zones separated by the Traffic Bridge and the Broadway Bridge.

“The central zone, located in Friendship Park, provides a large Main Stage Plaza and viewing area designed to accommodate large festival and events, with the capacity for 7,500 person ticketed events with supporting festival and event programming opportunities extending north and south into River Landing Park 1 and under the Broadway Bridge into Kiwanis Memorial Park South,” the report says.

It would feature a multi-purpose headquarters building which would include permanent washrooms, a mainstage plaza, an entry “bosque” along with other amenities.

“The site is designed as a park-like setting that can accommodate a range of events and festivals of varying sizes and types; such as performances, markets featuring food and merchandise events, races, informal gatherings while remaining an important park space for Saskatoon.”

If approved, the work would be done in phases. Phase 1 would include work on the headquarters building as well as improvements to Friendship Park. The cost for Phase 1 is pegged at $2 million with the money coming from the province.

Should city council approve the concept plan, construction on Phase 1 would begin in the spring.

“Phase 1 will provide us with a great site that will be a gathering place for Saskatoon,” says Lacroix. “The remaining phases can be constructed over time, pending future budget and funding considerations and approval.”

The city would have to look for other sources of funding for the remainder of the plan.