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Summer without Bancroft Park bandshell? That's what City Parks sees, in wake of fire

       Facing “significant hurdles” to restore the Bancroft Park bandshell after a major fire Jan. 27, City Parks Director Karen Palus is planning for a summer without it being available for events.
       “Our Special Events Office will be notifying event promoters so they can make other accommodations going forward this summer,” she said in an e-mail
During the 2011 Territory Days, the Thompson Square band performed in the Bancroft Park bandshell before a large crowd. The view also shows the previous appearance of the northwest corner of the stage, where the Jan. 27 fire started.
Westside Pioneer file photo
exchange with the Westside Pioneer. “We wanted to be sure they had plenty of time to make other arrangements for their events since the bandshell may not be an option.”
       In another update, an investigation has determined that the fire loss totaled $33,958, with the 1,128-square-foot bandshell having an overall value of $106,078, according to Capt. Steve Wilch, the Fire Department spokesperson. So the value of the firefighters' “save” was $72,120, he said. Most of the damage was to the bandshell's stage walls, studs and ceiling, but Wilch said he does not think the roof was left unstable.
       Police have not announced an arrest or any suspects in the blaze, which was reported at 3:15 a.m. Jan. 27 and took some 30 firefighters almost two hours to
This is the current view of the Bancroft Park bandshell, with temporary fencing around it, plywood partially covering the fire-damaged interior walls and trash lying on the stage.
Westside Pioneer photo
extinguish. Fire Department investigator Jacob Pullfer has declared that the fire was “purposely set” after one or more people had piled paper trash in the northwest corner of the stage.
       One event promoter who's been contacted by the city, Territory Days organizer Jim Wear, was not happy at the news. With bands in Bancroft Park an integral part of the annual Memorial Day weekend Old Colorado City festival, the only remedy would be to put a temporary stage in front of the bandshell, he said. But that would add about $6,000 to the event cost, he predicted, as well as fill up most of the area in front of the stage - limiting other acts that might occur there.
       In an interview, Wear sought an optimistic tone. Pointing to the event's tradition and sales tax windfall for the city, “I'm hopeful that City Parks will make getting the stage repaired a priority to facilitate Territory Days,” he said.
       Another free, popular, summer event that would be affected is Paint the Town Blue. Organized by the Pikes Peak Blues Community (PPBC), it typically consists
A view toward the west side and rear of the bandshell shows some other impacts from the fire, including plywood that City Parks employees put in where doors used to be and a small area at the rear where the flames broke through.
Westside Pioneer photo
of eight weekly performances in the bandshell by local music groups. Efforts to contact the PPBC were unsuccessful as of Feb. 13.
       An unknown is whether the bandshell fix - when it does occur - might incorporate a long-time plan by the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF) for an addition to the bandshell to provide public restrooms. The OCCF, an offshoot of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, has raised roughly $30,000 toward that goal. “I'm hoping they'll [the city] see this as a good time,” said Dave Van Ness, OCCA executive director and OCCF founder. “Why not, while you're there, do the new bathrooms?”
       Separate Pioneer interviews with Palus and Operation and Maintenance Manager Kurt Schroeder discussed the Parks Department's perceived “hurdles” in repairing the bandshell. They listed environmental concerns (including asbestos wallboards on the stage), making assessments (including insurance), developing a design, consulting with the State Historic Office, obtaining funding and freeing up staff to work on the matter.
       There is no repair estimate yet. Schroeder explained that before an insurance adjustor can even come in to assess the damage, the asbestos wallboards “have to get mitigated.”
       He said he did not think that would take too long. But he was reticent to offer an overall timetable. “It's too early to tell,” Schroeder said. “We know the bandshell is heavily used. We'd like to get it repaired as soon as possible.”
       Regarding the events in Bancroft, Carly Kobasiar, who handles special permits for City Parks, said her office is aware that each organization/promoter uses the park “a little bit differently.” So the intent is to work with each organizer “individually to identify alternatives, such as portable staging or site plan revisions, which will accommodate the events without the use of the bandshell.”
       The bandshell was built in 1935. A featured aspect is the locally quarried Manitou greenstone.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 2/13/17; Community: Public Safety)

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