No downbeat for Freedom Park bandstand
EDWARDS – The county commissioners sent a proposed Freedom Park bandstand back to the drawing board Tuesday.
Two volunteers, the architect and one of the people driving the effort, presented the plan to the county commissioners asking that the county help them find the money to build a stage, providing a place for concerts and festivals in the neighborhood.
They need around $153,000 total, $63,000 for the stage itself, said Tab Bonidy, the architect, and Buddy Sims, who’s helping to organize the effort. They’re not asking the county for the money, just help in finding the grants through sources like Colorado Lottery funds.
“We’re not here asking for money,” Bonidy said. “We need your help finding funds, but not county money.”
The commissioners were reluctant to give the project the green light until they knew what it would cost to maintain.
The maintenance would be minimal, Bonidy said. It’s a concrete platform under a steel structure with minimal wood, he said.
The Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District has agreed to manage it, said Steve Russell, WECMRD director.
Eagle and Gypsum have stages in their town parks, as does Minturn.
But they are towns and that’s the difference, Runyon said.
“Eagle County has spent an inordinate amount of money in Edwards. Why should any part of Eagle County’s budget go to a bandstand in Edwards?” Runyon asked.
Runyon called it a specialized economic interest, asking if it’s fair to spend even one dollar for this.
The Edwards metro district apparently has the money and appears to be looking for a task. This may be it, Runyon said.
“I wish to the bottom of my toes that the people of Edwards would incorporate and take care of these issues themselves,” said Runyon, who lives in Homestead.
But they haven’t, Sims said, and that makes them the county’s problem. He added that one-fourth of the county’s population lives in Edwards.
Stavney was mayor of Eagle when the town built its Centennial Stage during the town’s 100th anniversary.
“I’m proud of that. It’s a wonderful gathering place for the community,” Stavney said.
He suggested that someone like the Edwards Metro District agree to pick up the tab for management.
Cissy Olson, the Edwards Metro District’s assistant administrator said the board was receptive when Sims made his presentation and is in favor of the project.
“I think Edwards is way overdue for any recreation in that area,” Olson said.
Dozens of business and organizations are already on record with support.
A natural amphitheater has always been part of the Freedom Park plan, near the pond and the dog park. There’s a 250 amp, three-phase power source already installed.
Last March, an Edwards metro district surveyed residents and found that 87 percent wanted a bandstand, a place for concerts and festivals.
Sims says they’re trying to create a place for local performances similar to those in Eagle and Gypsum, as well as places for Battle Mountain High School’s music and performing organizations.
Sun glare won’t be a problem, Bonidy said. The roof would be a bronze color and angled so that it doesn’t reflect toward anyone’s home.
There would be no lights, so performances would be over by dark, Sims said.
The bandstand has been part of the Freedom Park plan for 10 years, Sims said.
“We’re at a crossroads here,” said Mike Mathias. “Buddy and his people need support to continue. We don’t have 10 more years. Of course there risks, and the risks are money. We’re not talking about a lot of money.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.