In the News

Preservation group, city eyeing long-term lease on Bandshell

BY MIKE FAHER for the Tribune Democrat
September 10, 2007

In March 2006, a group of volunteer preservationists signed a lease agreement that saved Johnstown’s Roxbury Bandshell from a date with a wrecking ball.

That lease will expire in less than two weeks. But city officials and Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance members are close to an agreement that would cement the organization’s ongoing commitment to the 68-year-old landmark.

“We have a general understanding that we will give them a long-term lease,” city Solicitor Joseph R. Green said.

Preservationists successfully fought the city’s plan to demolish the 55-foot-tall bandshelll to make way for a parking lot at busy Roxbury Park.

During the past 18 months, the alliance has transformed the formerly decrepit structure.

Volunteers have cleaned up the bandshell’s interior and exterior, secured doors and windows and, most importantly, installed a new roof.

And the alliance, which continues to raise money for its efforts, also has set up community events such as a concert series at the once-dormant bandshell.

Officials must complete a formal inspection, but it seems clear that the group has met its obligations.

“They’ve done what we asked them to do,” Green said. “They’ve done a pretty fine job.”

Tim Burns, an Ebensburg attorney representing the alliance, said he is confident that a new lease is in the works.

“The city’s been very cooperative,” Burns said.

“It’s just a matter of putting some minor details in place.”

The city will retain ownership of the bandshell and will require the alliance to notify officials of events that will be held there, Green said.

“We just want assurance that they’re going to continue to use the structure and maintain it,” he said.