LAKE PLACID - The new Paul White Memorial Band Shell at Mid's Park on Main Street may be functional, but the volunteer committee charged with finding funds to help pay for it still has work left to do. And they need the help of the community.
The Lake Placid Band Shell Fundraising Committee is faced with raising the remaining $14,000, according to committee member Bill Billerman, who expects to reach that goal by the end of the summer.
"We've gotten a lot of support from the community, but we're still a little short," Billerman said of the committee's $110,000 goal.
The Lake Placid Sinfonietta gives free summer concerts Wednesdays starting at 7 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of John Eldridge)
The total cost of the project is $330,000, with the village of Lake Placid paying for a third, the Uihlein Foundation paying a third and a fundraising committee - Billerman, Nick Politi and Jamie Rogers - committed to a third. The committee has raised about $96,000 to date. The Uihlein Foundation also gave around $500,000 for an overhaul of the park when Rogers was mayor, but the village could not afford to fund a new band shell at that time.
Murnane Associates, a Plattsburgh-based company, constructed the band shell in the spring. The structure was prefabricated by Vermont Timber Works. Local architect Andrew Chary designed the band shell, and village engineer Ivan Zdrahal drew up the site design.
The band shell is currently being used regularly by two free concert series - the Songs at Mirror Lake Music Series Tuesday nights starting at 7 and the Lake Placid Sinfonietta Concerts in the Park series Wednesday nights starting at 7.
"We've actually heard a lot of rave reviews about the band shell, how it looks, how it functions, the site, how much of an improvement it is," Billerman said. "Hopefully more community members will realize it and help us out."
The village has been approached by more people wishing to use the band shell and Mid's Park, Billerman said.
"I even heard that one of the hotels wants to rent the whole park for a wedding," Billerman said. "I don't know how they're going to be able to do that, but that's how nice it is, that they would want to use it for a wedding."
The reason the funding has been spread out to various part of the community is because the band shell is a community asset, one that has a clear economic benefit to the village, drawing visitors to the downtown for the summer concerts, according to Billerman, who knows Mirror Lake well. He is the chairman of the Mirror Lake Watershed Association and the Songs at Mirror Lake Music Series.
"I know for our concert series, we draw some people to this town for some of the concerts that we have for the national touring bands," Billerman said Monday. "We have Quinn Sullivan coming. He plays with Buddy Guy. He's nationally known. He's only 16 years old. And he's got some people interested coming from out of town. That, plus just having an extra attraction for people while they are here, is an economic impact."
The reason people should donate to the band shell project, he said, is because the structure benefits the community.
"The community itself should own the band shell and the improvements to Mid's Park," Billerman said. "It's a cultural community benefit. I don't know what else to really say other than it's something that I didn't do for my generation but for my kids and their kids. It's going to be there for a long time, and we need to make sure that it's paid for and taken care of."
The former band shell was built in 1977. It was named after Paul White, the conductor of the orchestra at the Lake Placid Club. Arthur Wareham, a Saranac Lake architect, designed the original structure.
Donations to the band shell can be made via the Adirondack Foundation at www.generousact.org/funds/bandshell-park-fund, or by mail to P.O. Box 288, 302 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid, NY 12946.