May 2, 2013

The Friends of the Band Shell Park (FOBSP) held a community informational meeting Thursday, May 2, 2013 at the Two Harbors Community Center with 45 community members attending which included 10 members of the FOBSP Board of Directors.

Here is the video of public meeting:

Alan Anderson, President of the FOBSP, introduced the members of the Board and Okey Ukaga of the Northeast MN Sustainable Development Partnership which funded the conceptual design for the renovation of the Band Shell Park. After Mr. Anderson’s brief remarks, Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen was introduced and spoke about the importance of citizen initiative on community projects. He also commented that he was impressed by the work of the FOBSP Board and thanked the Board for their hard work.

Larry Saur, Board Member, played a short video giving a history of the 116 year old Two Harbors City Band from its inception to today, including information about the revitalization project currently underway. He also reported on the recent appraisal of the band’s music, which contains 1376 compositions and is estimated to be worth $98,000.

Kane Tewes, an architect with Krech Ojard & Associates, presented and described the architectural design and the process of developing the Band Shell Park renovation. Besides creating a new band shell for summer concerts by the Two Harbors City Band he described the indoor rehearsal space which could be used year round as a multi-use area for meetings, ensemble concerts, lecture series, theatre productions and other activities. Public restrooms and ADA accessibility concerns were also commented on by Mr. Tewes.

Alan Anderson talked about the funding of this approximately $3 million project. He stressed the importance of community support which is the basic building block for the funding along with businesses and small organizations. Larger contributors and foundations need to see local support of a project before they will commit their dollars to it. Research has been done on many foundations and a grants plan is ready to execute, along with other Capital Campaign fundraisers.

The final portion of the program was a community input forum moderated by FOBSP director, Ken Sandvik. Many long time and newer residents spoke of their concerns, questions and ideas. These included a new resident of Two Harbors who indicated one of the main reasons for relocating to Two Harbors was the weekly band concerts held in the Band Shell Park. Long time residents spoke of how much they appreciated the work of the FOBSP Board of Directors who have devoted 3-5 years of monthly meetings in designing this renovation of their city park.

Some resident comments included:

  • Remember the sentimental attachment that people have to the old band shell and incorporate the look and feel, maybe even some actual pieces of the old shell.
  • Light the stage for nighttime use.
  • This is a wonderful project and very much needed.
  • Don’t forget the north to south slope of that park; make sure it is graded well so it does not flood.
  • The band has stored music and instruments and uniforms all over the place all these years and it is wonderful that this treasure of the city will have a new home of their own. The band shell flooded several years ago and brand new sound equipment which the band itself had purchased with a grant was ruined, along with an old City Band drum. I’m behind this project 110%!
  • The band deserves this new band shell.
  • First I thought, why use this small park for storage of things that could be stored other places. But now that I hear of the multi-use abilities of this building I have a more positive outlook on the project.
  • We hope to develop a Two Harbors radio station in the next year or so and would like to broadcast the band concerts. We’d like you to consider offering a small space in the building for the radio station.
  • I’m from a town in Michigan of a similar size with a very similar type band that is also multigenerational. They have a new band shell that is multi-purpose, very much like the plans for the new one here. I played in that Michigan band with my grandfather and it was a very special experience for me. I hope that I can play in the Two Harbors band with my children and hopefully grandchildren one day. It is also very neat to see your city grow and improve. I am behind this project.

Questions and answers included:

Will the building have a flat roof?
No, it will be sloped and done according to current architectural standards.

Will the building belong to the FOBSP or the city?
The building will belong to the city.

Will there be space inside for offices for non-profit groups other than the city band?
No, that is not its purpose and the city band is affiliated with the City of Two Harbors.

What type of sound system will there be and can all groups use it?
The sound system will be chosen later and all groups using the building may use it, in accordance with rules set for by the city administration.

Is it possible to purchase the rental house adjacent to the park to increase the size of the park?
That question has come up and is being considered.

Could you stake out the footprint of the new building this summer so people could get a feel for its size?
That is an excellent idea.

What is the plan for the existing shell?
That is under discussion. If anyone would like to move it elsewhere they should talk to the city.

Is there a plan for a city referendum on this?
No, as the goal of the Board is to build this building with no public monies.

Will there be an arched shell like the lovely one we have?
Yes, one designed by an acoustical engineer for optimum sound quality.

Have you raised any money yet?
Yes we have raised several thousand dollars in the last three years without a conceptual design. We also have some funders who have promised grants or donations, but are waiting to make sure of City Council and community support. Foundation grants have been researched and we are planning our Capital Campaign. But before we go further we need a resolution from the City Council to proceed.

In a straw poll, the vast majority of the attendees were in support of the conceptual renovation plan. Five of the seven Two Harbors City Councilors were in attendance at the meeting and had some questions, but also voiced their strong support of the project. One of them pointed out that the vision of the City Council is to make Two Harbors a destination and this project would go a long way to making that dream a reality.

The FOBSP Directors stressed that the committee would not disband once the building is built but would continue as a fundraising group for the betterment of the Band Shell Park and the Paul Gauche Performing Arts Center (proposed name).

Al Anderson closed the meeting with remarks. He is excited about this project and foresees it bringing many events, groups and people to Two Harbors. It is a legacy project for our children and grandchildren and beyond.

If you could not attend the meeting you can view the plans and make comments on the FOBSP website (www.friendsofthebandshellpark.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Band-Shell-Park). You can also call John Gregor, Architectural Subcommittee Chair at 218-830-0767 or Al Anderson, President of the Board of Directors at 218-834-9526.

Community Informational Meeting