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Now comes the hard part: raising $99,900 for Shelton Park stage

Claremont’s Shelton Park is receiving a much-anticipated musical tune-up.

The Claremont City Council approved plans for the construction of a $100,000 performance stage to be built in the northeast corner of the small Village park, located at Bonita and Harvard Avenues.

The Village Marketing Group, a subcommittee of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, will lead the fundraising efforts. Mayor Opanyi Nasiali kick started the fundraising by handing over a $100 check following the council’s unanimous vote.

“Now you only have to raise $99,900,” Mr. Nasiali quipped.

The 210-square foot stage, designed by local architect Paul Wheeler, will be similar to the bandshell found at Memorial Park, made with durable materials such as cement, stone, Douglas Fir crossbeams and red brick to withstand the weather. A concrete pad will be added adjacent to the stage for the placement of a temporary restroom and hand washing station as needed.

The Village Marketing Group had originally planned on gifting the stage to the city. However, because the stage will then be under the ownership of the city, responsible for maintaining the stage thereafter, the council’s approval was needed before and a competitive bidding process required. It will cost an estimated $1500 a year to maintain the stage, a sum which will be taken from the Community and Human Resources maintenance budget, according to Melissa Vollaro, a department manager.

Marketing group members have had their sights set on building a stage at Shelton since the city’s Zip Code Day, held on 9-17-11. A temporary stage built at the corner park for the day’s activities proved so successful that VMG members decided it should be a permanent feature. They propose the stage could be used for youth performances, puppet shows and live music events, such as the Claremont Chamber’s Friday Nights Live.

 

“We could have a sort of triangle of events from the depot to the performance area over by the Laemmle theater and something else on the other side of the village...so that people can become familiar with all parts of the village,” explained Catherine Curtis.

Construction plans have been shared with a number of city governing bodies, through the Architectural Commission, Community and Human Services Commission and a number of subsequent committees. VGM members have also canvassed the surrounding community, all with positive feedback. The audience on Tuesday was equally enthusiastic.

“Not all kids should be studying math and engineering all the time. We need a place for the kids to beat the bongos, strum the guitar,” Mr. Wheeler said. “We need a place for the moan and groan conservatives to soap box and the same thing for the moan and groan liberals, and I just think this is going to be a great place for the community to get together and be what Claremonsters are all about.”

Check out our complete council coverage Friday.

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