By DON STINE
Efforts to build the first permanent bandshell in Joe Palaia Park in Ocean Township are well underway and the new facility may be up and running by the fall.
And while the band shell project is moving forward this year, Siciliano said the idea is not original to this Township Council.
“It was first put forward by previous mayors and councils about 15 to 20 years ago but it never grew legs. Every now and then it would come back up for discussion but I put this on our list of things to do if we were elected. And the council agreed and we brought it back to life,” he said.“It’s a great old-new idea.”
The bandshell will be used for light acoustical musical concerts, movies or theater. Seating is on the lawn.
“It will be a pretty passive use,” the mayor said.
Another unique feature of the new bandshell is that it is going to be built at the eastern end of the park and direct any sound west, into the park itself and not into nearby residential neighborhoods. The old performance stage, which is plywood laid over four-by-four posts, is located at the western edge of the park and faces east.
“All the sound goes toward the 250-acre park and will not bother neighbors on Whale Pond Road. It’s kind of totally opposite of what we have now,” he said.
KNTM Architects, based in East Orange, was commissioned to design the new bandshell at a cost not to exceed $15,000 and a color rendering of the project was recently presented to the Township Council.
The project is being funded through $355,000 in developer’s contributions to a community impact fund.
Siciliano said the structure with be constructed with split-block and be similar to other township-owned buildings in other parks, including the Littler League fields.
“It will be something durable and last a longtime,” he said.
The mayor said he hopes the contract to build the bandshell will be awarded in June 1 and that it may be in use by this fall.
“Hopefully it will be up and running for some of our fall events in the park,” he said.