By John J. Hopkins
The Tonawanda News
Nearly nine months after the gazebo in Clinton Park crashed to the ground in a windstorm, trapping two city Parks and Recreation Department employees beneath it, only one step remains to rebuild the structure.
Two bids were awarded by the Tonawanda City Council on Tuesday to rebuild the structure.
Winning the bid to install the roof and eight support beams was Ledge Creek Development Inc. of Clarence Center, who submitted a $54,000 proposal.
A city company, Landmark Construction Co. of Fillmore Avenue, successfully bid on installing the gazebo railings. Landmark’s winning bid was $14,500.
A hard fiberglass material will be used to build the gazebo. Mayor Ron Pilozzi said the material is scratch-resistant, and it’s hoped it will deter people from vandalizing the structure.
The gazebo, which had been rebuilt several decades ago, is considered an iconic landmark to many city residents.
“It’s the center of the city, and an architectural structure that goes back many years,” Pilozzi said. “It’s an important structure for many residents, particularly the older ones.”
Although the park doesn’t attract as many people as it once did, Pilozzi said the city is moving forward with a plan to utilize the park more often.
Council members were satisfied with the bids, after rejecting a series of bids last month because they didn’t like the wording in their earlier request. Pilozzi said the city saved about $20,000 with the re-bid.
During their pre-meeting work session, council members discussed how to pay for the construction. Their likely move will be to redirect money intended for building a handicapped-accessible fishing pier near the Long Homestead to the gazebo.
The council could approve the funds transfer at its next meeting, scheduled for July 26. Construction would begin soon after the funds are moved.
“I don’t think it’s going to take long to put it up,” Pilozzi added.
Pilozzi will also submit a grant request to the Niagara River Greenway Commission to fund construction of the pier next year.
“We certainly want to go after the Greenway funding,” said Council President Carl Zeisz.
Requests to the commission typically take several months to process.
A fundraiser is also being planned to help defray costs for rebuilding the gazebo. The event, to be held in Clinton Park, is planned for July 30.
The gazebo was in a state of disrepair last October when three city Parks and Recreation Department employees were directed to stabilize it. The gazebo collapsed, trapping one worker beneath it, and striking a second worker. The third was uninjured.