Park bandstand repairs complete; Weddle bridge next

The city of Sweet Home has completed repairs on the bandstand at Sankey Park, and it is turning its attention to Weddle Bridge and other park projects again this budget year.

Much of the wood in the bandstand was rotted or kicked out by vandals, and the structure even had a growing transient population underneath, with logs stolen to build fires, said Community Development Director Carol Lewis.

The city located a 1930s-era photo of the bandstand and went to work restoring the structure, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Lewis said. All of the bandstand’s skirting was replaced at least once during its history, but it was never restored to the way it was built.

Trim along the roof also was removed, Lewis said, and that was restored too.

“Everything you see in natural wood (color) was either gone or missing,” Lewis said. A decorative arch on the front of the bandstand will be finished later when fresh wood, which can be shaped, is cut in the spring.

Rick Lehto Construction completed the job, Lewis said. A crew removed rotting timbers, cut new ones from logs supplied by Cascade Timber Consulting, and replaced them. The crew also placed a concrete footing under each of the upright columns around the bandstand.

Lewis said that during this year’s Oregon Jamboree, Lehto ran into one of the CCC workers who built the bandstand.

The stage can be used from either the front or back, Lewis said. Plans were originally to use the hillside behind the bandstand as an amphitheater seating. The arch on the back of the structure matches the one on the front, and the hillside offers a much better view of the entire stage than the ground out front.

“The forest (on the hill) is very different than when they built it,” Lewis said, but she said she would like to see benches installed on the hillside to provide the view originally intended.

With this year’s project, “it’s a whole lot more vandal-proof than it used to be,” Lewis said. The pieces are all attached with bolts rather than small nails.

The job ended up over budget at about $8,000, Lewis said. It was budgeted at $5,000.

Upcoming city parks projects include replacement of cross beams underneath Weddle Bridge.

Mike Melcher has provided the wood for that project.

When the bridge was reconstructed in Sweet Home, many of the cross beams were spliced together, Lewis said. Those pieces will be replaced by whole timbers. Some of them also suffer from the same rot that afflicted the bridge when the roof was leaking several years ago.

They aren’t load-bearing, but they keep the structural beams from swaying, she said.

The paint also is peeling, but the city is unlikely to be able to repaint this year. The bridge was last painted in 2007.

“Whatever the base is, on these boards it didn’t hold the paint,” Lewis said.

Generally, though, “the bridge is in good shape,” Lewis said.

The Sankey Park gazebo remains in good shape, Lewis said. The restoration of the Sankey Park Hut was completed previously, and that building is in use by several local organizations.

The city has not been charging nonprofit groups using the space, Lewis said. To book the hut, call the Community Development Office at (541) 367-8113.

The city also plans to install two new spring-ride playground toys this fiscal year, 2010-11. The fiscal year begins on July 1 and runs through June 30.

In other parks, the department is considering using some of the left-over timber from the bandstand project to build a gazebo that people can use to observe the river at Northside Park.

The city plans jungle gyms for Strawberry and Northside parks, Lewis said, and intends to install adult fitness equipment and a drinking fountain at Ashbrook.