Harmon Park Sonotorium renovation complete

Local4 News at 5
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 8:18 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - History is being preserved in the Tri-Cities at a well-known park.

The Historic Harmon Park Sonotorium, which has stood since the 1930s has undergone extensive renovations and is now ready for use. Officials said the project has been in the works since 2018 but was delayed due to COVID-19. Renovation cost totaled around $1.4 million dollars. Nonetheless the structure now has a fresh new look.

“We wanted to update the electrical and the accessibility of all of the electrical and sound system, all the technical parts of it,” said Nathan LeFeber Chaiman of the Sonotorium Restoration Committee. “We wanted to make the stage ADA accessible and open up the backstage area so that there can be a green room, some storage areas, and a restroom back there.”

LeFeber said the lighting on the south side was renovated as well to match the style of the Sonotorium. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 4 at 6:45 p.m., followed by the venue’s first summer concert.

“I just felt like it was really important to preserve some of the old architecture of the building,” said LeFeber. “There’s postcards from the 1930s right after this went in and it’s just beautiful and it’s cool to reserve that piece of history. So for me it was a really important thing that we keep the Sonotorium as it is and just upgrade it and add to it and not totally replace it.”

LeFeber said restoring the Sonotorium adds to the allure of Harmon Park, making it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

“Harmon Park is kind of a destination,” said LeFeber. “There’s a swimming pool, there’s an activity building, there’s a softball/ baseball field, I mean it’s just a place where people want to come. So having this space updated and upgraded so that it can be used for a lot of different things. I think we’re going to see the community really find new usages for the Sonotorium.”

Officials have been discussing plans to bring more than just music to the Sonotorium.

“Well I think it also opens the door to numerous other events that can be there,” said Scott Hayden, Director of Kearney Parks and Rec. “I know we’ve talked to Crane River Theater and other groups that are putting together some ideas to do some performance there, now that we have greater capabilities.”

There will also be some new features as well.

“One of the new that we added to the space is that there’s going to be a house sound system that’s going to get installed,” said LeFeber. “It’s not currently installed yet but some of our parts are on back order. We’ve been struggling with supply chain issues the whole way. But it’s going to have a nice sound system that people are going to be able to use along with some great electrical hook ups that were not there before.”

LeFeber said the light post around the Sonotorium has outlets as well, making it easier to conduct all other events at Harmon Park.