Permanent bandshell for Huntsville’s River Mill Park to be built in time for spring


It was music to Rotary’s ears. The Rotary Club of Huntsville received council approval this week to proceed with the construction of a permanent bandshell in Huntsville’s River Mill Park.

Appearing before council on Monday night, Rob Saunders and Ross Kirwin of the Rotary Club of Huntsville outlined the project.

At an estimated cost of $170,000, Saunders told council that the bandshell has a predicted lifespan of 30 years and is designed to withstand the elements and vandalism. The bandshell will be located at the back of the park, near the King Street extension and will face the river. The design is meant to compliment the look of the existing pergola.

In addition to the stage, moveable storage buildings will also be erected and will be located behind the bandshell.

River Mill Park bandshell placement

River Mill Park bandshell placement

The Rotary Club has garnered support from a few community partners. While Rotary has pledged $60,000 and has taken responsibility for any fundraising short falls, the Huntsville Festival of the Arts is on board for $10,000, the Downtown BIA has committed $10,000, with an additional $10,000 possible next year, and the Muskoka Concert Band has pledged $5000.

For the last month people in Huntsville have been voting on line in support Rotary’s Bandshell application to the Aviva Insurance Fund. There were 67 projects competing and Huntsville’s bandshell placed second for the number of votes received in that category. A second place finish enables the Rotary Club to proceed to the next stage in their $30,000 funding request from Aviva. The Club expects to hear the decision for funding on November 3.

Rob Saunders is hopeful the club will receive the money.

We came second in our category. You had to be in the top 5 to be considered. We sent the numbers and they said they liked what they saw. I think we have a strong chance of getting that funding.Rob Saunders – Rotary Club of Huntsville

For its part, the Town has agreed to waive the building permit fee, a cost of $1150, and relocate a small pine tree. The Town will donate the land and maintain future upkeep of the facility, including operating costs, ongoing maintenance and a capital replacement fund.

With approvals now in place the Club intends to drill some test holes this month to determine soil conditions and then construct the foundation. In the spring the structures will be built and hopefully ready for a May 21 opening concert!

River Mill Park bandshell, side view with storage buildings

River Mill Park bandshell, side view with storage buildings

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