In Kearney, NE
Harmon Park has been around since 1924, and the ground it sits on has been a designated park since it was given to the city of Kearney by Thomas Perkins and James Harford in 1876. More historical information can be found here.
The Harmon Sonotorium, located within the park, has been around since 1938 and is an iconic part of the landscape of the City of Kearney. Two years ago, a group of concerned citizens organized by Nathan LeFeber approached Scott Hayden, with the City of Kearney Park and Recreation Department, about forming a committee to restore and update this historic structure.
What are we going to do?
The updates to the Sonotorium are in these main areas:
Cover the stage with a permanent roof, that compliments the current architecture, so as to mitigate sunlight and heat, protect from the elements, and allow more people to utilize the stage.
Add more lighting on stage as well as on the entire structure, upgrade the sound system’s accessibility, and outfit the roof to be used for more involved productions.
Create restrooms and a dressing room area for performers, restore the existing facade/building envelope, enclose the west picnic area to function as a green room, fix and open the backstage area, install an ADA-accessible ramp to the stage, improve loading area, and upgrade overall safety and security.
Upgrade the lighting of the entire sound end of Harmon Park with fixtures that match the art deco style of the Sonotorium and the Activity Center. These upgrades would also allow us to improve electrical access for the many events that happen on this side of the park.
As a committee, we identified the needs and desires of the project, evaluated the options, looked at countless examples of similar structures, and reviewed ten different drawings/renderings of what the improvements could look like.
We can’t do this without your help. We need you! Please give generously to our cause. We are registered with the Kearney Area Community Foundation and participate in their fundraising efforts, including Give Where You Live. Please reach out to us if you would like to talk about a more substantial gift.
At this early stage of the designing project, we estimate the total project cost to be $750,000. Included within the estimation is construction, lighting for the southern part of the park, design/engineering, performance lighting, sound reinforcement, contingency, and contractor bond.
We have the full support of the city council and the parks and recreation offices. The city has already contributed some of the estimated costs and we anticipate that, as the project moves forward, there will be many tangible ways for the city to reduce or offset the cost of construction. We hope to have the funding in place by the fall of 2021 so that we can start construction then and open for the Summer of 2022.