GARDINER — People anxious for a new gazebo to grace Gardiner Common will have to wait a little longer.

City staff pushed back the deadline to build a new structure after receiving no bids from contractors.

The city plans to issue a new request for proposals on Monday that calls for the gazebo to be completed by next May, with preference for bidders who can finish in December. The original request required it to be completed no later than Sept. 15.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the city received feedback that not enough time was given to complete the project in the first request for proposals, which was issued on June 18 with a deadline of July 8 to submit bids.

“My impression, just from talking to people, is it wasn’t so much we could do a better job of advertising it — though we certainly can — it was more of a constricted time frame for contractors, and they’re already busy with work and good jobs,” Morelli said.

The city advertised the request for proposals on its website and Facebook page, through email and by word of mouth, Morelli said. The next request for proposals will be advertised similarly, although the city will also likely purchase legal ads in newspapers, he said.

The city wants the project finished by May so prom pictures may be taken on the gazebo, Morelli said, but a mid-December completion is preferred so the city can decorate it with holiday lights.

The public park has been without a gazebo since December, when city staff tore down the 35-year-old structure because of its deteriorating condition.

Since then, community groups have begun fundraising efforts to pay for the eventual replacement, which has been estimated at around $35,000.

The city is contributing more than $8,000 from its bicentennial fund, and the rest is expected to be raised by community organizations, businesses and individuals. The city also set up a donation page on its website.

The Rotary Club of Gardiner has already received pledges of $11,000 for a new gazebo from two organizations.

“I really think the community believes in the gazebo, wants the gazebo and the money will be forthcoming,” said Jack Fles, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

The Parks and Recreation Committee gathered feedback from a public forum in April and worked with Brian Kent, a local architect, to design the new gazebo.

The design of the new gazebo is similar to the old one. The stairs and opening, however, will be twice as large to accommodate live music and other events. The design also calls for a handicapped-accessible ramp on the opposite side of the steps.

Kent, from Kent Associates Planning and Design, donated his time to work with the committee and sketch the designs.

The former gazebo was completed in 1977 as a replacement for an earlier gazebo torn down in the mid-1950s, according to Kennebec Journal archives.

Fles said the board is pleased with the new design and is looking forward to having it completed as soon as possible.

“It will happen,” he said. “Just a matter of time.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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