Bandstand next step in face-lift for New Ken's Memorial Park
It was fitting that the renovation of the Memorial Park bandstand in New Kensington began on May Day, a holiday that traditionally heralds spring renewal.
The city's premier park has had its own renewal this spring, with a new bridge, central pavilion and restroom facility all installed within the last month.
The aging bandstand, bearing a dedication plaque from 1967, is next in line for a facelift.
Seven welding students from Northern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center were on site Wednesday morning, ripping down the acoustic ceiling tiles and insulation above the stage and chipping away at deteriorating cement.
Jeremy Dawson, a welding instructor at the vo-tech, said in the coming weeks:
• Students from the New Kensington-based school's carpentry program will replace the ceiling and fascia boards along the roof's gables.
• Masonry students will replace cement caps atop the brick banisters.
• Art students will give the stage a fresh coat of paint.
Because no welding is needed for the project, Dawson's welding students were tasked with demolition.
Vo-tech students completed a similar community project at Vandergrift's Davis Field last year, Dawson said.
“It allows the kids to get an authentic feel of what a real job site is like,” Dawson said. “It works out really well for the community and for the kids.”
Dawson said the school was approached by the organizers of the New Ken/Arnold Social in the Park, which last year raised about $3,000 for the bandstand project.
Cindy Downard of Lower Burrell said the social outings at Memorial Park began in 2011 when Rob Greb of Apollo suggested that a group of New Kensington and Arnold natives who chatted on Facebook should get together.
They raised a few hundred dollars during the first social and donated the money to the city for the restoration of the restrooms, which had been destroyed in an arson in 2010.
Greb died last year, but the group continued to meet and raise money. Another social is planned at Memorial Park in September, and the group will host a benefit concert fundraiser for Arnold's Roosevelt Park later this month.
“We all grew up here, we all played in both parks,” Downard said. “I hope this becomes something we can keep going between us and the cities and the schools and the community.”
Downard said the group is considering next raising money to improve other pavilions at Memorial Park.
New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo said city officials appreciate the efforts of the Social in the Park group and the vo-tech.
“We were already looking to repair it and renovate it,” Guzzo said of the bandstand. “This was the perfect opportunity.
“The most important thing is, while it's great for the city, it's also great for the vo-tech,” Guzzo added. “It gives them an opportunity to practice what they're learning. And from a cost perspective, it won't cost as much. They do great work.”
“I'm glad we're helping out the community,” said Tyler Rogers, an 11th-grade welding student from the Kiski Area School District.
Rogers said he appreciates the opportunity to work at a site.
“It's pretty labor-intensive,” he said of Wednesday's work. “But I've done worse.”
Guzzo said the $3,000 raised by the Social in the Park will cover the cost of the bandstand work, which includes professional electricians rewiring the facility.
The replacement of the entrance bridge, restrooms and central pavilion, which cost a total of about $173,000, was covered through insurance money from the fire damage as well as federal Community Development Block Grant money, Guzzo said.
He said the city is pursuing grants and other funding to improve the tennis courts and playground area.
“Things are really taking shape at the park,” he said.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny Valley Hospital names New Kensington man CEO
- Pa. commission dismisses ethics complaints against West Deer officials
- Gaschler, 19, expects to be able to balance college, school board duties
- Oakmont, Kiski Township election results finalized
- Lancers headed to fourth consecutive WPIAL title game
- Richland Township attorneys to meet in district judge race
- Lower Burrell Zoning Hearing Board to rule on Little League ballfield lights
- West Deer residents voice opposition to proposed events center
- Kiski facility offers hope for mine acid cleanup
- Former Springdale officer sues borough, 4 officials
- Kiski Area School Board approves summer projects