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Tuesday - July 3, 2018 4:07 am

Process for new canopy moving tenuously through city bureaucracy

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Bandshell canopy rendering Bandshell canopy rendering

While days of performances are planned for the bandstand in La Crosse's Riverside park this week during Riverfest, work on new covering for that bandstand continues.

And some of it seems like a slow slog through bureaucracy to Terry Bauer, who's been shepherding the fundraising process for a new bandstand canopy for years.

He said Monday from the WIZM studio the latest left him scratching his head over what will be a four phase project, starting with a city-funded refurbishment of the bandstand and prep for the canopy.

“Last Thursday, we saw the plans and there was no footings for Phase 1,” Bauer said. “And so we would come back in and then rip up something that the city just did, which as a business person I'm going like, that makes no sense economically.”

The city is set to spend over $1 million refurbishing the historic bandstand. Bauer and several groups are privately raising $500,000 for the new canopy.

“We think we can get this done and if it delays because we didn't see what we thought we would see in the requests,” Bauer said. “If we push it back a half a year or a year — we've waited since 1986 — that's not going to break the deal.”

The refurbishment would be the first work done there since 1986. And a delay may not break the deal but patience is starting to wear thin.

“Our patrons for the last six years have donated generously as we passed the hat toward this project and of course they're all asking, ‘When is something going to happen?’” Bauer said.

The bandstand, crumbling concrete and all, will be heavy use this week for Riverfest as many acts start taking the stage beginning Wednesday for the four-day event.

The latest minor setback is the new architect drawings for the bandstand refurbishment which somehow don't include plans for the new canopy.

The bandstand covering is designed by Roald Gundersen and will be paid for through private fundraising and then donated to the city.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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