Even bigger changes may be coming soon to the just-renamed Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater as the Tuscaloosa city council prepares to consider a new 10-year master plan for the space.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox joined the Steve & DC Morning Show on 95.3 the Bear Wednesday morning to talk about Tuesday night's announcement about the new name for the riverfront venue.

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"It's a very historic moment, and it really signals the next phase of the Amphitheater," Maddox said.

Maddox said the choice to name the Amp in honor of Mercedes-Benz came in part because of their tremendous financial investment in the city and specifically that region downtown, but also to recognize the impact they've had on this community for the last 30 years.

"When they came here in 1993, that was Earth-shaking across the world that they would come to Tuscaloosa, Alabama," the mayor said. "But because they did tens of thousands of our fellow citizens, whether through Mercedes or its suppliers, have had a much better life. They've been able to buy a house and send their children to college and invest for their future."

J. R. Moore | Townsquare Media
J. R. Moore | Townsquare Media

Mercedes has been generous to Tuscaloosa in the past and present, but Maddox said the connection is deeper than that. He said other corporations have tried to negotiate for naming rights to the venue before, but they don't have the local roots and impact Mercedes does.

"Let's say you became the SoFi Amphitheater. What does that mean to the people of Tuscaloosa? It really means nothing because there's not a SoFi presence, right?" Maddox said on the show. "But with Mercedes Benz, one out of every eight persons in Tuscaloosa County either works at Mercedes or a Mercedes supplier. Mercedes-Benz means something and they were here for us in our darkest hours, so there is an almost a family-like connection with us rebranding our Amphitheater in Mercedes-Benz's name."

A world-class name begets a world-class facility, and Maddox told the radio show hosts that the city council will hear a proposal to step in that direction later this month, funded at least in part by a major contribution from the German automaker.

"This gives us the resources to make upgrades in the years to come. On November 21st, Kay Day, our Arts and Entertainment director, will be outlining a 10-year master plan for the Amphitheater," Maddox said. "We wouldn't be in a position to even present it to our city council if Mercedes didn't do what they've done for us."

The mayor did not detail what Day's proposal would include but said it will be transformative for the venue.

"I've been part of this process and it is, I'm telling you guys, it is next level," Maddox said. "Coach Saban has trained us all well over the last 16 years. It's not about being excellent, it's about being elite, and that's where Kay Day wants to lead us all."

For details on the proposal when they become available, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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Gallery Credit: (J. R. Moore | Townsquare Media)

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