Grangeville approves pavilion in city park

Dec. 5—GRANGEVILLE — After more than six years of bouncing around plans to build a performing arts pavilion in Grangeville, the City Council on Monday night gave its approval to move the project from the Lions Park to the Pioneer Park in the center of town.

The unanimous vote was contingent on the consent of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, which the city will seek.

Ted Lindsley, a member of the Sunrise Lions Club that is helping to sponsor the pavilion, said he's received numerous comments from city residents opposed to the proposal to build the pavilion at the Lions Park.

"The community wants it put back in the city park," Lindsley told the councilors at Monday night's regular meeting that drew a standing-room-only crowd.

Todd Marek, a representative of Grangeville Arts Inc. that is spearheading the project and seeking funding for it, outlined the history and explained why the location of the pavilion has not been settled so far.

The arts committee, which sponsors free community concerts at Pioneer Park during the summer, began pursuing the idea of building a new stage pavilion in 2017. Private fundraising and grant application efforts began and the idea looked promising. One of the early concerns was where to locate a pavilion at the city-owned Pioneer Park. Musical groups perform in a covered picnic area but pavilion promoters preferred the southeast corner of the park where a baseball field is now located.

The group ran into roadblocks having to do with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for sidewalks and parking spaces. There were also conflicts about where in the city park to place the structure that wouldn't interfere with water lines, electrical conduits and other infrastructure.

As the plan stalled, Marek said, the costs began to soar. Six years ago it was estimated that a pavilion would cost about $64,000. Now it's over $100,000, he said.

Several people at Monday night's meeting expressed frustration at the delay and eagerness to move ahead, possibly as early as the coming spring.

Cathy Wassmuth, a member of the Grangeville Horizons committee that sponsors the Winter Magic tree lighting ceremony in December each year, said it would be impractical to have crowds at Pioneer Park for the tree lighting and then send them several blocks away to Lions Park for the musical program that is part of the celebration. Wassmuth said her group is "embarrassed ... that we are still working on this project. We want this to be done and so does our community."

Lindsley said the current plan is to upgrade the covered picnic area with a raised floor and a remodeled roof. Those improvements would not trigger the federal disabilities act requirements.

"Grangeville Arts wants to have it where the people want it," Marek said. "That's our top priority."

Hedberg may be contacted at khedberg@lmtribune.com.