By Neale Gulley
The Tonawanda News
Less than a year after it came crashing down, injuring two city workers in the process, Clinton Park Gazebo is scheduled to be rebuilt.
City of Tonawanda Engineer Jason LaMonaco said two companies are already under contract for the work to rebuild the iconic meeting place, with work scheduled to begin by the middle of September.
Construction will then take place over the next month, LaMonaco said, before a rededication ceremony will be held to acknowledge the project and those who have donated to help offset the rather large tab for the work.
“A lot of people who live in Clinton Park were interested in donating — people who got married there. The gazebo has a place in the hearts of a lot of people in the city,” said John White, chairman of a 10-person committee organized to help raise money for the project.
The challenge the city faces is in coming up with around $80,000 to rebuild the well-known meeting place, which collapsed during renovations last October.
The city has opted to handle electrical work using its own staff.
Tonawanda’s 6,500 taxpayers will still shoulder most of the burden because the city is self-insured and legally must head up the project.
A fundraiser held a month ago at the Niawanda Park Band Shell didn’t see the kind of attendance organizers were hoping for, but publicity did help raise about $3,000 to help defray the cost.
Just a couple of hundred people attended the fundraiser held in late July featuring the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame’s All Star Revue. Organizers, including White, were hoping for a few hundred more.
“The tax burden is still going to be there, but we’re going to lessen the load,” he said. “There’s a lot to go. At this point we’re just going to continue trying to push for donations ... the checks are still coming in.”
Individuals can pitch in on a variety of sponsorship levels earning them various space in a brochure to distribute when a new gazebo is unveiled.
Full page listings are $500, half page, $250, a business card sized ad is $100 and individual names will be listed for $5 a pop.
Donations from the community at large can be sent for any amount to the American Legion Post 264, c/o Gazebo, P.O. Box 66, Tonawanda, N.Y., 14150.
“I think the main thing that’s important about the gazebo — it’s a Tonawanda landmark, but hopefully we’re going to use it a lot more once it’s rebuilt,” City of Tonawanda Mayor Ron Pilozzi said, suggesting small summer concerts and the like.
LaMonaco said the time it takes to rebuild the structure is mostly dependent on how long it takes for materials to arrive. The new gazebo will be the same size as the old one, but will use composite, resin-like support members that officials hope will be more resistant to graffiti and the like.
“We tried to use more modern materials but we also tried to adhere to the historic look of the old gazebo,” he said.