Official Name of Public Space

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Pop Up Park

Site Address

2005 W Cumberland Ave, Middlesboro, Kentucky

How will your Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series reflect the essence of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards?

Middlesboro has already shown how a neglected gravel lot can be made in to a force for positive community change. We enlisted over 100 volunteers to lay down 4,000 feet of sod, built a stage that rivals what may be found in larger places, then provided two years of acts presenting the best live music around. This site has become a catalyst for improvement to our town and a source of great civic pride. Key to our success has been demonstrating the Levitt values. Everyone is welcome to attend every concert. We are proud to have people of every walk of life representing the diversity of our community. This diversity is also reflected in performers selected to participate. The site is centrally located in the heart of the downtown and is easily accessible for all members of our community. Together the site and programming have become a powerful tool to achieve deep and sustained engagement. Tens of thousands of people have now heard of Middlesboro and the exciting things happening here because of our association with Levitt. We enrich lives by providing the best live music around. Before Levitt people traveled hours away to hear music. Now they can get that right in town. Local and regional performers benefit from having a stage to perform on alongside professional musicians. The place itself has become a catalyst for revitalization of the surrounding area. Several buildings have been fixed up, vacant stores filled, buildings painted, and things are getting better downtown.

How will your town or city benefit from the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series?

Continuing the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series for a third year will give an enormous boost to civic pride and help build the confidence we need to make sure the work that has been started continues for a very long time. We have already leveraged significant cash and in-kind resources in support of the series. The Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Bell County Tourism have been generous supporters. Year 3 of Levitt will help us continue these relationships while building new ones. In 2016 we learned the power of pairing our headliner acts with local and regional talent. Through that process we discovered new talent and new audiences they brought along with them. The Middlesboro’s Got Talent contest held our first two weeks brought out a great crowd of family and friends. Our goal will be to continue to support area talent and build our audience by doing so. Ultimately we hope to help people from our area make the leap to become national headliners themselves. Perhaps the greatest impact has been placing arts and culture at the forefront of the revitalization of our town. We’ve witnessed firsthand the power of live music to bring people together, change attitudes and perceptions, and to transform places for the better. All of that will continue and be amplified in year 3. Our goals will be to: 1) Expand the flooring area of our stage, 2) remove the concession stand and expand our lawn, and 3) build partnerships that grow our audience.

Describe the site where the free concerts will be held. Explain how the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series will play a role in enlivening the selected public space and surrounding areas.

Downtown Middlesboro was once the center of the economic, civic, and social life for the town and our surrounding Central Appalachia region. At one time there were so many travelers who visited it gained the reputation as Little Las Vegas. Major social and economic changes transformed the community in recent years. Decades of wear and tear, loss of anchor tenants, and shifting consumer preferences have made it hard for the downtown to compete. That’s where Levitt came in. A vacant gravel parking lot where a Woolworth’s store once stood became our site to present free live music in 2015. It is framed by large multi-story buildings on either side and across the street. This creates a wonderful semi-enclosed “living room” feel. One addition in 2016 was urban gardening along the sides of the lots. Car tires, raised beds, and shipping pallets demonstrated the possibility to produce food. We’ll expand upon this through a partnership with Christian Cooperative Ministries to provide fresh produce for people in need. The site will fuel continued improvement to the surrounding downtown area. People will be attracted to this oasis of greenery and sit on our lawn, enjoy our gardens, and see a show. Removing the shed will make the lot feel more open and welcoming to passersby. We'll program the lot so activities can happen all throughout the week and not just when concerts are held. The space meets Levitt requirements by being outdoors with a lawn and no fixed seating.