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Wes' World: City Park Band Shell

May 15, 2012

Tomorrow, Wednesday May 16, is the Park and Rec board meeting to make a decision as to the fate/future of the City Park Band Shell. Erected in 1931 by the Citizens of Valley City dedicated to early resident D.W. Clark, the founder of the first city band, the floods of 09,10 and 11 did a number on the foundation beneath it where the walls of the basement are collapsing in and taking the structure with it.

The number that has been out there for fixing it was a friendly guesstimate of $250,000 to move it and put it on a new foundation higher out of the flood plane...WITHOUT a basement. The park board is working with state hazard mitigation on potential funding but they won't get anywhere near the the full $250,000. As I understand it, their worry is where would the rest come from as it isn't in their budget to spend that kind of money. They have had a deadline of May 18th imposed upon them to make a decision to take the money or not....which boils down to save the band shell and come up with X amount of money to do it or turn down the limited funds and sadly eventually demolish it. Which would be a huge loss for the community as it would be pretty much abandoning City Park for all that we do in there from Music in the Park to any theater or other events centered around the Band Shell.

Some have said that we could build a new one for $250,000 but that idea, or any others for that matter, has not been officially priced out and would be highly unlikely as Two Harbors, MN has an identical band shell to ours since theirs was built using our plans. They are undergoing a similar problem with their band shell but have come up with the amount of roughly $1 million to replace the structure with something identical. The band shell is a highly technical design that amplifies sound acoustically through the way it is built. No gazebo would/could ever do that and no gazebo would ever have the stage facilities for theatrical production....so why bother with the idea?

The historical aspect of it being a part of the fabric of the community since 1931 and its dedication to D.W. Clark the founder of the first city band and major patron of the arts community since 1881 is almost secondary to the threat of losing this valuable performance venue for the future of Valley City. Whatever they choose to do (hopefully keep it)it's gonna take money, the question is how much and where from. We need to demonstrate to the park board a desire from the public to retain the venue and somehow pay to make it happen.

We're looking for folks with deep pockets and kind hearts to step forward to reinvest back into the community and pay forward the gift given by past generations to us. We owe it to them. And if we lose it, we won't be able to explain why very well.

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