Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gazebo Goes Up

Andrew Avalone reflected proudly on workers as they assembled the project that took him three years to conceptualize, fund and move through municipal channels.

Saturday morning Avalone, the rest of his Boy Scout Troop, and assorted volunteers began to assemble the pre-fab gazebo that has become the source of some controversy.

Avalone's project is a effort toward achieving his Eagle Scout ranking. He raised $23,000, and got the approval of the city's Park and Recreation Department to erect the gazebo as a tribute to veterans.

About the controversy, Common Council member Phil Pessina, who was among the volunteers said he was mystified.

"I'm disappointed at that reaction," Pessina said. "This has been in the works for three years, and to have people pop up at the eleventh hour to oppose it is disappointing."

The crew expects to have the gazebo fully assembled by the end of the day Saturday.


Mr. Fixit said...

With respect to the tempest in a teapot that has surfaced at this late instant regarding the placement of the new gazebo on South Green. While driving by the park at mid-day today I noted that the new gazebo is located near the front end of the park adjacent to the two large evergreen trees. I've never noticed the portable stage (Showmobile) parked in this area; it us usually on the other side of the monument and likely will be placed there for future events. It's time for the stuffed shirts to go back into their caves. Thank you Andrew Avalone for a job well done!

CultureCreature (Richard B. Kamins) said...

Stuffed shirts and arts elitists! Indeed. Okay. I walked down to the Green after Rosh Hashanah services at the synagogue. I concur with those in attendance at the installation - The gazebo is quite handsome and looks good where it has been placed.
Here's the other side of the story - Questions have been raised about the placement of the gazebo since it was first proposed. At many of the concerts on the Green I've attended or driven by, the showmobile has been set up in the area where the Gazebo now stands.
Finally, the Middletown Commission on the Arts praises the very hard work that Andrew Avalone has put into the project from its inception to the raising of the structure.

JERG said...

Thank you Andrew, it looks great.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kamins, it's time you attended some of the events the Arts Commission puts on. While you may be a commissioner of the Arts, you don't know what they do.
The Showmobile has NEVER been placed at the site of the new gazebo for concerts. or anything else. It's time to stop commenting on the gazebo...your foot keeps on getting further and further in your mouth.
Thanks Andrew for the good work.

Anonymous said...

Its a sad day when our Arts Commission tries to spin just like Roberts and the rest of the critics, all in the interest of political correctness.

"We think its great that you did this Andrew, you noble Eagle Scout, but what you did sucks".

Pick a side and take a stand, we don't need more hypocrits in this town.

Jen Alexander said...

I approved the comment from Anonymous @9:58 am with regret - but decided to publish it and add my own two cents.

I don't know who you are anonymous - in fact, if you are so eager to publicly thank Andrew, you should just sign your name - but it's hard to imagine that your volunteer commitment to this community exceeds that of Richard Kamins.

Why do you need to be so insulting? Is it possible that Richard and the commission had legitimate concerns about the gazebo? Perhaps you just want to be intimidating?

Word said...

The arts commission has clearly voiced its support and celebrates the can-do spirit of Andrew Avalone. Its members felt just as much pleasure and pride in meeting him and listening to him as anyone in Middletown could have felt. The handsome gazebo is a winning conclusion to one eagle scout’s dogged pursuit of creating something beautiful.

The debate has never been over the merit of this giving and character-building endeavor. There has never been one word uttered that was not in support of this young man completing his project. Ever.

To suggest that the MCA was somehow not behind this youth’s project is a false argument.

The real issue is why the city ordinance was not followed.

And why does it matter?

In bringing our community together in new ways, it is important not to impose, infringe, or eliminate community events that have historically made use of the same site.

In other words:

Why give us one new thing only to infringe upon an existing use? Why do that?

Had the gazebo been placed at the same park, but closer to the fruit trees and away from the site already utilized by community groups, would the Veterans have been any less honored?

Would the Veterans be any less honored if the gazebo was placed toward the area used by the weekly farmers market? And then used by the good folks attending the weekly market during rainy days?

For that matter, would the Veterans be any less honored if the gazebo stood proudly on the Veteran’s Park on Washington Street as a gateway to our city?

These are the kinds of things Parks and Rec would have had the opportunity to explore had they invited MCA to the table. At least for one, civil discussion. At least to be heard. What’s wrong with that?

That the Arts Commission also looks to the future as regards the city’s showmobile and the possibility of a permanent platform for the events already taking place in that park is not remarkable. It is the work of all commissions to look to the future in this way.

Had Parks and Rec invited MCA to the table, there is a possibility that they might have struck some mutual understanding that would have served an even greater number of our citizens.

It’s worth a shot, isn’t it? It’s worth an hour of time? Or even an invitation to submit an email? Something?

And now the gazebo is here and completed and we can welcome the opportunity the new gazebo represents. Now we will see the volunteers and supporters of the gazebo as well as other community members begin to congregate at the gazebo. I look forward to seeing many busy days of picnicking families, or ice cream eaters, or busy shoppers resting there for a moment or two. Maybe even taking in a concert.

Hats off to Andrew Avalone and those individuals who allowed him to take on the hard work of seeing this project through. His perseverance and willingness to take the necessary steps to see his project through does him credit and will serve him in years to come.

The Parks and Rec department is to be congratulated on taking the time to mentor Avalone through this process. But, it must be said, we would have better served Avalone and the greater community if, in the process, all legal ordinances already in place been observed. We will never know what might have happened had the P & R reached out to MCA as per the ordinance.

The only take away message is that our laws and ordinances ought to be followed by our commissions and city departments; if for no other reason than out of respect for the people of Middletown these laws and ordinances are here to serve. It is only right, when these ordinances and laws are not followed, that we speak up.

The Myth said...

To Word,
I only mentioned that two (2)Councilpersons on the Arts Commission had opposed the gazebo project at Union Park. They were Councilpersons Earle Roberts and Ron Klattenburg, whose comments were in the Middletown Eye. I do not know the concensus of the remaining memebers of that Commission, nor did I say I did.
Just as a point of information; all the departments of the City who were to be involved with the project, including the Arts & Culture deptartment, were present at the intial meeting, two (2) plus years ago, at Union Park. During the meeting, the location and size was discussed, and agreed upon. Councilman Roberts was present at that meeting. He may have mentioned his objections then, but I cannot say so for sure.
Of all the Commissions and Agencies, the Arts Commission had a different view for the placement of the Gazebo. All other Commissions mentioned in the Ordinance, agreed with the Union Park setting, size, and location. The Parks & Recreation Commission has the final say on the subject, and agreed with the majority.
The present site, welcomes people from the South side of our City, and is in a location which will recieve much use.
Veterans Memorial Green on Washington Street, is not utilized as much as Union Park is. Mostly, it sees foot traffic by Wesleyan University students going to and from class.
Perhaps if the Common Council wishes to entertain a gazebo at Veterans Memorial Green, it can be funded during the budetary process.
Just my point of view.

John Milardo, Parks Supt.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone who is blogging, especially members of the Council or MCA realize that arts @ culture has been under the auspices of PARK @ RECREATION for at least 3 years! If the comission was so offended then why not ask the arts coordinator to walk across the room and set up a meeting with the director. This is and was a silly topic for anyone to even voice a complaint about. Please move on to something really important and leave the good deed of one youth alone.