The new gazebo under construction in the Gardiner Common is expected to be mostly built by the end of this month and completely finished by May.
Fundraising efforts, however, are still ongoing, and the group spearheading the effort with the city is around $20,000 short of its goal.
The public park has been without a gazebo since the city tore down the 35-year-old structure at the end of 2012 because of its deteriorated condition. Only an octagonal concrete slab marked the location of the former gazebo until construction on the new structure began last fall.
The Rotary Club of Gardiner took over fundraising efforts and helped raise around $33,000 toward the $52,700 budget, according to Anne Davis, head librarian for the city and member of the Rotary Club board of directors. Funding has come from donations from businesses and individuals, grants given to the Rotary Club, and the city, which designated more than $8,000 from its bicentennial fund for the gazebo.
The construction costs for the structure will total $34,750, but the budget also includes funds for surveillance cameras, groundwork, a wheelchair ramp, lights and maintenance, Davis said.
The builder who won the contract to build the gazebo, Joe Caputo, of Pittston, is expected to largely finish the structure by April 1, according to City Manager Scott Morelli.
Caputo has been paid $17,375 so far, and he will be paid the remaining sum in two installments, when the project is substantially completed in April and entirely finished by around May 1, Morelli said.
The thermometer sign in front of the Common that indicates fundraising progress shows the amount raised over the $40,000 marker, but Jack Fles, the chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee, said that was an estimation of the pledges received.
Fles said the groups have received generous donations from both businesses and individuals, including a Waterville woman who used to live in Gardiner who gave $500.
“We do have a push to close it. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting very close,” he said.
Fles said a ribbon cutting and celebration for the gazebo is scheduled for June 14.
Cumberland Farms in Gardiner, as part of a kickoff event for its new building on Bridge Street, will donate 10 cents to the gazebo fund for each cup of coffee the convenience store sells between March 26 and April 23, according to Davis. She said the promotion is expected to bring in about $1,000 for the fund.
Fles said he hopes the groups will reach their goal of $52,700 before the structure is complete.
After a break during the winter months, construction recently started again on the gazebo and it now has a floor, railings and a roof.
The design of the gazebo, although later tweaked by the builder, was the result of public input gathered by the Parks and Recreation Committee and a collaboration with Brian Kent, a local architect who sketched the design.
The new gazebo looks similar to the old one. The stairs and opening, however, will be twice as large to accommodate live music and other events, and the new gazebo has a cupola on top to let in natural light. The former gazebo was completed in 1977 as a replacement for an earlier gazebo taken down in the mid-1950s, according to Kennebec Journal archives.
Donations can be made on the city’s website or by contacting the Rotary Club of Gardiner.