Last week, a year and a half after the old gazebo was torn down, the builder who’s been constructing its replacement put the final touches on the new landmark for the Gardiner Common.

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 concerns about its structural integrity.

Much of the gazebo was finished by May in time for prom pictures for local high schoolers. The builder, Joe Caputo, of Pittston, said he installed the benches — the final step — last week.

The new gazebo looks similar to the old one, which was completed in 1977 as a replacement for an earlier gazebo taken down in the mid-1950s. The stairs and opening on the new structure are twice as large to accommodate live music and other events, and it has an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant wheelchair ramp.

To celebrate its completion and the success of the community fundraising effort that raised more than $45,000, largely from private donations, the city will hold a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony at the gazebo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature food and a performance from local band Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations.

The Rotary Club of Gardiner led the fundraising, which was buoyed by an initial pledge of more than $8,000 from the city’s bicentennial fund.

Besides the city’s contribution, the largest donations came from the Coombs Trust and J.W. Robinson Welfare Trust, which gave a combined $11,000, according to Rotary member John Shaw, and several local businesses including Kennebec Savings Bank, E.J. Prescott Inc., Pine State Trading Co., On Target Utility Services and Cumberland Farms.

“I think a lot of people had a direct personal connection to the gazebo, so they really wanted to do something,” said Shaw, who helped fundraise. “I think that really carried the day.”

Jack Fles, a Rotary member and chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee, said he thinks people see the gazebo as a gathering place that ties the surrounding neighborhoods together.

“Our pitch was this is a community center,” he said. “It’s historic, and we want it to continue.”

Feedback about the new gazebo has been positive, Fles said, especially for the cupola at the top that lets light in during the day and is illuminated at night.

The construction costs for the structure totaled $34,750, but additional funds were needed for future maintenance and for a contingency fund.

The new gazebo is also expected to last longer than the old structure because it’s been designed to be easily maintained and built with materials to lengthen its lifespan, Caputo said. It was constructed with a mix of pressure-treated wood, composite material and cedar for the interior.

“If they don’t get 50 years out of it, I’ll be shocked,” he said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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