Orchard Corridor Entertainment Venue
In October 2019, the Oswego Village Board accepted the donation of about three acres of land on Station Drive, adjacent to the planned site of a future Oswego Metra station, for use as a community amenity and entertainment venue.
Since that time, the Village has entered into contracts with Schoppe Design for land planning, Threshold Acoustics for an acoustical study, and Williams Architects for architectural and engineering design. In addition, the Village conducted an online community survey to identify opinions on how the entertainment venue should be used and conducted stakeholder interviews.
In July 2020, the Village hosted an open house to solicit resident feedback about possible designs for an outdoor amphitheater that could be used by community-based performance groups, as well as a plan for the site, which could host events throughout the year for our residents.
The site plan proposes:
- Northeast stage orientation to take advantage of existing sound barriers and to maximize the crowd area;
- Area designated for food trucks;
- Area designated for future playground;
- Walking paths, overlooks, and aerators to use the pond as an amenity;
- “Front of House” pad for audio technician;
- Wide service corridor for trucks and equipment;
- Future support building for public restrooms and concessions;
- Entry court; and
- Walking path.
These features have been identified for the long-term plans for the park but will not all be included in its first phase. Click on the image at right for a full-size high-resolution image of the site plan.
The amphitheater will provide a stage with basic lighting and audio that can be used by community performing arts groups. During the open house, architects presented two possible design options for the stage. View high-resolution images of the two designs from different perspectives by clicking on the images below:
The first phase of this project, which will include the covered stage, the park-like area, and service corridor, is projected to cost approximately $750,000. Those funds are currently available in the Village’s Capital Improvement Plan, in the annual budget because of budget surpluses, owing to higher than expected revenues, lower than expected expenditures, and proceeds from the sale of the former police station and the Firehouse Pizza property.
Additionally, the Village of Oswego has applied for an Illinois Fast Track grant of $750,000, which, if received, will accelerate the timeline for the construction of the venue. If the Village receives the grant, construction will begin this fall, and the venue can open in spring 2021. If the Village does not receive the grant, construction will wait until there is a better picture of the Village’s budget, especially regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the budget. This could delay the project start date until spring 2021, with completion in fall 2021.
In February 2020, the Village of Oswego offered a survey to residents about their event attendence habits and desires for more outdoor entertainment options. A total of 495 people, 90 percent of whom identified as Oswego residents, responded to the survey. In July 2020, residents were invited to offer their comments on the designs proposed at the open house. You can view responses to both surveys here:
Entertainment Options Survey Responses
Open House Online Comment Card Responses
What about the noise?
The Village hired acoustical engineer Threshold Acoustics to perform an analysis on the sound impacts of the proposed entertainment venue. Their report looked at different orientations to face the stage and found that due to the existing berming and separation from neighborhoods from the BNSF railroad tracks, detention pond, and the Orchard Road bridge, amplified sound typical of a concert and entertainment venue will not result in decibel levels that exceed our code requirements at residential neighborhoods (60dBA during the day, and 55dBA at night). Williams Architects further stated that the effects shown in the report can be lessened even further by incorporating some absorptive materials in the back wall of the stage structure.
Click the image for a high-resolution version of the sound map.
A plan will go before the Planning & Zoning Commission on July 9, 2020. The Village Board would be anticipated to direct staff to solicit bids in early August.
Interested in contributing?
The Village of Oswego anticipates several opportunities for individuals and businesses interested in contributing to this community amenity, including potential sponsorships and naming rights. If you are interested in opportunities when they become available, contact Community Engagement Coordinator Julie Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.