Pam Parr

Oswego Trustee Pam Parr. ( photo by Mark Harrington)

Tense moments in a debate on a possible outdoor entertainment venue consumed 90 minutes of the Oswego Village Board meeting Tuesday night.

In October, a local businessman donated three acres near Orchard Road to the village for an amphitheater. In agenda documents, a presentation timeline showed the village opening in nine months. During the committee of the whole meeting, board trustee Pam Parr gave her opinions.

Preliminary options show Oswego using $725,000 from the pending sale of the former Oswego Police Department building on Route 34 and $225,000 the state capital bill for village infrastructure improvements and $40,000 from road projects. However, at one time, the venue minimum cost was listed a high of $2 million.

Parr took issue with village staff seeking request for proposals or an RFP for acoustic design services, costing $12,000.

A preliminary design shows a covered performance stag, parklike setting with walking paths, permanent public restrooms, site lighting and signage and food truck locations.

Oswego Village Administrator Dan DiSanto told trustees about the intent.

But Parr says there are urgent village needs, other than entertainment.

Trustees also debated to use the minimum design options or add premium design features, now or at a later date. Trustee Brian Thomas said adding premium design would be cheaper now.

Trustee James Marter sees the village’s outdoor venue as boosting current Orchard Road businesses, attracting new businesses, or bringing new residents and homes to Oswego.  

In the end, the Oswego Village Board voted 5-1 to spend $20,000 to an Oswego firm, Schoppe Design Associates, Inc. for a design with a 30-day cancellation window if village staff learn that the Oswegoland Park District is building an outdoor entertainment venue. Parr voted yes while trustee Louis Perez cast the sole no vote.

Village staff documents displayed the site could hold from 4,000 to 10,000 people with current vehicle parking, future Metra station parking, shared business parking and undeveloped land parking options.

Resident David Edelmann charged that the village is moving extremely fast and has a transparency issue on funding with a lot of unanswered questions. Part of that development speed stems from the request of the donor.