LEWISTON — With a 4-foot ring dug out of the Kennedy Park soil, work renovating and moving the historic gazebo and bandstand kicked off Wednesday.

“We’re going to be going pretty consistent on it going forward,” said George Fellows, project foreman for Hebert Construction. “They are pouring concrete in the morning (Thursday) and once the footers goes in, everything goes after that.”

Lee Myles, a member of the Restoration Committee, said he expects the work to be finished sometime in the fall.

“I know we want to have it done and have a grand opening around a holiday,” he said. “We really want to have a celebration when we do a ribbon-cutting.”

City officials and members of a committee which formed to save the historic bandstand broke ground on the project in October with a news conference and a ceremony.

But Myles said they wanted to wait to begin the work until they’d raised all the money to pay for the project.

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The current plan costs $156,600. According to an agreement with the city, the committee needed to raise at least half of the renovation costs to qualify for $75,000 in federal block grant money set aside by the Lewiston City Council.

“We’ve been doing the fundraising, then it was based on Hebert’s ability to schedule the work,” Myles said. “We wanted to make sure we had raised all the money before we launched. That wouldn’t be fair to the contractor.”

Hebert crews dug the foundation about 6 feet south of the current structure and will pour the supporting footers this week.

Next, crews will build a new structure to support the roof. Once that’s done, the focus will move to the historic tin roof. It will be reconditioned, repainted and moved on top of the new structure.

According to a 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, state and national candidates.

The gazebo has been closed and fenced off since 2010 because of safety concerns, such as damage to the concrete floor of the structure, erosion on the brick supports and wear on the wooden columns and the wood structure under the roof.

The plan calls for building a new structure, similar to the park’s 1925 gazebo, but shorter: the 1925 gazebo’s floor was about 5 feet off of the ground and the new gazebo floor will be about 2 feet off the ground.

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