Iconic Island Park gazebo getting $78,000 update
FARGO - The iconic Island Park gazebo will get a new look this fall that's actually quite old. October is the start date for a $78,000 Park District project to restore the fixture in Fargo's oldest park to its original luster. Cracking concrete, ...
FARGO - The iconic Island Park gazebo will get a new look this fall that's actually quite old.
October is the start date for a $78,000 Park District project to restore the fixture in Fargo's oldest park to its original luster.
Cracking concrete, outdated electrical work and general wear and tear prompted the district to resuscitate the open-air structure that today is a popular and inexpensive wedding venue, said Roger Gress, executive director.
Newton A. Lewis, a Fargo businessman, gifted the building to the city in 1927 to serve as a bandstand. According to Forum files, "The structure was erected at a cost of $6,000 and is composed entirely of concrete and steel with a specially arranged ceiling which makes it possible for the music to be heard for blocks."
The gazebo, on the west side of the park near downtown Fargo, was the central gathering spot for citywide events, Gress said.
"You can imagine way back when, people going down there on a Sunday to listen to music," Gress said. "It takes us back to the beginning of our community."
The gazebo was rented out for at least 36 events this summer for a daily cost of $88, said Amy Rasmussen, the Park District employee who takes reservations.
The Park Board accepted bids Tuesday, and work is set to start Oct. 12.
The building remains structurally strong, so most renovations will be superficial, said RL Engebretson architect Rich Wiemken, who was contracted to draft plans for the update.
One of the most dramatic changes the public will see is within the park's oak tree foliage.
"What they'll notice most is the roof," Wiemken said.
Today's gray shingles have faded and accumulated moss over the years, and architects discovered their original color was more reflective of the nearby river.
"We found that the originals were more of a red, terra cotta-ish shingle," Wiemken said.
The update will also include stripping and repainting the pillars and other surfaces and fixing the crumbling concrete base. Underneath, a basement that was boarded up will be fixed and open for storage.
The railings, which are white, will return to their historical black color to make the transformation as close to the original as possible.
Outdated wiring and fixtures will also be refit, which will give the dark building the first functioning lights in many years - a true bright spot in Fargo's history.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511