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New Lenox making upgrades to amphitheater

Michelle Mullins | 12/22/2015, 8:28 a.m.
As it continues to host bigger, national music acts, the village of New Lenox is looking to make some upgrades ...
New Lenox wants to make some upgrades to its outdoor amphitheater which has become a popular stop for national touring acts.

The New Lenox Village Board is preparing to renovate and improve its outdoor amphitheater.

The board on Monday approved entering into an agreement with Tria Architecture to design three options to create a more modernized stage that would accommodate larger acts as well as create additional seating and a permanent green room for the acts.

The board also entered into an agreement with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. to provide engineering services related to the amphitheater’s improvements.

The outdoor amphitheater, which was built in the Village Commons area in 2006, was designed to host smaller, free events, but activities and concerts have grown significantly over the years.

In 2009, the village launched the Triple Play concert series to provide entertainment for residents while raising money to fund other free village-sponsored events, such as fireworks shows, movie nights, Christmas in the Commons and more.

The concert series has brought in major acts such as Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton, 10,000 Maniacs, Kenny Loggins, Steve Miller Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Residents often camp out by the New Lenox Village Hall to get their tickets, since only 5,000 are sold, and tickets typically sell out in a day.

The village also puts on a Country in the Commons concert series, which this year featured Joe Nichols and The Band Perry.

Mayor Tim Baldermann said residents have long enjoyed the outdoor concerts, but the village needs to update its facility.

Many issues arise when trying to accommodate the bands, including whether the amphitheatre’s stage is large enough and whether it can handle the lighting and sound systems the bands want to bring, Baldermann said. The village has lost some potential acts because the stage cannot handle them, he said.

The village wants to update its amphitheater without disrupting the quaintness or character of the Village Commons, Trustee Annette Bowden said.

Baldermann said that in addition to being able to attract big-name acts, a larger stage could also benefit local bands who want to play in the village.

Construction on the amphitheater is likely to begin in the fall 2016 after the summer concert series ends and be completed in the spring of 2017.

No cost estimate is available until the designs are completed. The contract with Tria Architecture is $19,850 while the fee for Christopher B. Burke Engineering is $9,900, according to board documents.