‘The MLK’ nears completion

An artist repaints the SunGlo mural last summer at the former Farmers Feed & Seed building in Downtown Temple. The building has been renovated and will serve as a green room for entertainers and a space to entertain event sponsors. David Stone photo

Festival Grounds to open with April 1 with Paslay, Tucker concert


A six-band music festival featuring Temple native Eric Paslay and Holly Tucker on April 1 will be the first event held at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Festival Grounds in Downtown Temple. 

A second event — the annual Bloomin’ Temple Festival — will be April 28 and 29.

“It’s just about ready to use,” said Mike Hemker, assistant director of Temple Parks & Recreation. “We’re just finishing up a few things — basically, all the electrical hookups are ready and can be safely used.”

“When I got to Temple in 2019, the property was already fenced, but we’ve done some road and sidewalk improvements to the area,” he said. “We’ve done some paving and built curbs and sidewalks, and the overhead utility lines have been moved under ground. We also have irrigation systems in place.”

Hemker said several electrical hookup stations were installed along pathways inside the grounds, and bands will be able to plug in at two potential stage locations.

“We aren’t going to have a permanent stage, but there are two places where bands can set up,” he said. “At events like Bloomin’ Temple Festival, we utilize two stages. We are now set up to do that.”

While the MLK won’t have permanent restrooms or concessions, there is space to bring in food trucks and port-o-potties.

“Those who lease the Festival Grounds for concerts and events will need to bring in portable bathrooms,” he said. “There are restroom facilities in the SunGlo building, but they won’t be public bathrooms.”

The SunGlo building is one of two structures at the MLK that have been renovated. The SunGlo will be used as a green room for bands and entertainers waiting to perform and as a space for sponsors as a way of thanking them for sponsoring a concert or other event.

As part of the preparation work for the Festival Grounds, a faded 100-year-old mural on the side of the SunGlo building has been repainted. Farmers Feed & Seed was a distributor of SunGlo seeds in the early 1900s and the colorful advertisement was painted on the side of the building.

“If someone rents the entire Festival Grounds, they will have the option of renting the SunGlo as well for an additional fee,” Hemker said.

The other building that was renovated serves as Downtown storage for the Parks & Recreation department.

Hemker said there are no plans to bring in permanent or temporary seating at the Fairgrounds. Manuel Velasquez, owner of Temple’s Coyotes FC soccer club, had publicly expressed interest in using the MLK to play home games. Currently, the Coyotes use Woodson Field.

Hemker said the area lacks space for a full-sized soccer field.

“I don’t want to say never, but for now there will be no seating,” he said. “People can bring blankets and lawn chairs for concerts or movies in the park.”

Those attending events at the MLK will park on the street or in one of two parking garages being constructed Downtown.  

“There is a small parking lot behind the SunGlo building for limited parking, but nothing really designated for the Festival Grounds.”

Hemker said an online outdoor application must be completed by those wanting to rent the MLK for family reunions, parties, concerts or other events. Once the application is reviewed, the city will determine if security is needed.

“If there is going to be alcohol, there will need to be security,” he said. “There are other factors we will use to determine if security is needed — it will be an event-by-event decision.”

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