LEWISTON — Backers of a Kennedy Park gazebo renovation project will have until the end of June 2013 to come up with financing to do the work.

Bill Clifford, chairman of the gazebo renovation committee, said the group was waiting to meet with a contractor before beginning fundraising efforts.

“We don’t see any point in getting started until we have a better understanding or a better feel of what we need to raise,” he told city councilors at their meeting Tuesday night.

Councilors agreed and gave the committee until June 30, 2013, to come up with a fundraising effort.

Members of the city’s gazebo committee presented design plans and models for what the renovated gazebo and bandstand in Kennedy Park would look like in July.

The committee is suggesting the gazebo be torn down and a new one built near the Bates-Walnut streets intersection.

The gazebo has been closed and fenced off for two years due to safety concerns — damage to its concrete floor as well as erosion on the brick supports and wear on the wooden columns and the wood structure under the roof.

If the plan moves forward, the existing roof would be moved to the new structure.

The new gazebo would use the grade difference between Bates Street and the park. People would be able to walk into the gazebo from the street level. That would place it several feet above the park’s grade, creating a kind of natural amphitheater.

The city has set aside $75,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money to pay for part of the work to redesign the gazebo. Members of the committee need to raise the rest.

Clifford said the original budget for the project was $260,000 based on early estimates. The committee is working with contractor Mike Hebert to do the work.

According to history of the gazebo written by local historian Douglas Hodgkin, the first bandstand was built in the park in 1868 but the current gazebo was built in 1925.

Since then, it’s been used for concerts and band performances as well as political rallies for local, Maine and national candidates.

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