HARTFORD — The sound of construction will soon bounce off the waves of the Mississippi River in Hartford.
The village of Hartford has announced it has approval and funding to build a 300-seat shaded amphitheater at the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower.
The amphitheater, called the Confluence Concourse, is part of Hartford’s economic development plan.
“This amphitheater was part of the economic plan developed back in 2000, while working on the planning of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration,” Hartford Project Manager Deanna Barnes said. “We are very excited to see this plan become a reality.”
The amphitheater will seat 300 people and will have a shade structure over the top. It will be a small venue used for musical performances, interpretative programming and storytelling.
“It will also provide a place for visitors to sit and relax before and after a tour, and will be a nice place for individual reflection,” Barnes said.
The Confluence Concourse has a total price of $257,834. Of that total, $180,800 will be from a federal National Scenic Byway grant. The Illinois Department of Transportation will administer the grant and the Hartford Village Board has chosen to use RCS Construction, which had the lowest bid for the project. About $45,200 will come from local funding and the village of Hartford is looking to private donors to raise the remaining $77,000 to reach the total.
“We hope that construction will begin in spring and that we will be up and running in the summer,” Barnes said. “We are already planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony with special entertainment to kick off this exciting addition to the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower.”
Since 2011, more than 70,000 visitors have stopped by the tower, including people from about 30 nations.
“We are very excited to provide a new venue to provide visitors with a new reason to come and visit,” Barnes said. The Confluence Concourse will be on the Davis Plaza facing west from the tower and represents the final stage of the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower Development Plan.
“We would like to thank all the partners that have supported the project with donations, time and volunteering,” Barnes said. “We have a great group of volunteers that give of their time to ensure that the visitors to the tower have a wonderful experience while visiting.”
The village of Hartford has been looking forward to the amphitheater for a long time.
“The Confluence Concourse is the centerpiece for the Lewis and Clark Commerce Center, which consists of 60 acres of retail development property that has utilities, cable and TIF district, and is a prime area available for development,” Barnes said.
The tower provides an opportunity to view the merging of the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The eagle season is wrapping up and new activities are scheduled for the spring, including an Arbor Day celebration. The cost of a tour is $4 per adult, $2 per child and group rates are available. Winter hours are limited to the weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Beginning in April, the tower will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, see their website at www.confluencetower.com, call (618) 251-1901 or visit them on Facebook.