The Pioneer Park bandstand is coming down and a picnic pavilion and memorial to the approximately 60-year-old structure are going up.
The City Council opted Tuesday to construct a medium-sized pavilion rather than renovate the bandstand, which has been part of the park since the 1920s. The project, which includes demolition of the bandstand, is estimated to cost between $19,500 and $23,500, said Tom Martin, city chief administrative officer.A bid to refurbish the bandstand came in at $22,500, Martin said.
Martin told council members it might be "money well-spent" to put in a covered picnic area for users of the park at 500 W. Center St.
Along with the picnic area the city plans to put in a memorial garden area commemorating the bandstand.
"Well, whoop-di-do," said Mike Leventhal, director of the Utah Historical Foundation, of the plan for a memorial. He said that's like telling someone "we killed your grandmother, but here's a picture of her." The foundation works to preserve historic structures.
Leventhal said he can't call the council decision wrong, but if the bandstand comes down, it should be replaced with a structure that will become a "cultural, social and neighborhood landmark." He said he's not sure a picnic pavilion would accomplish that.
Councilman Ben Porter, who earlier urged the council to renovate the worn-out structure, went along with the pavilion plan as long as it was medium-sized and he be allowed to work on the memorial.
Over the past 10 years, "there has been relatively little use of the bandstand," said Leroy Dennis, city parks director. A yearly children's festival in July is the only regular user.
Years ago, the park's stage was home to a city-sponsored summer concert series. That has since been moved to North Park, 500 W. 500 North, Dennis said. The city no longer sponsors activities on the Pioneer Park stage.
Dennis said the structure is a dangerous place for children to play, making it a liability to the city. "We have to fix it up or take it out," he said.
City officials will now meet with a contractor to set up a demolition and construction schedule. Dennis said the project should be under way in the next 90 days.