By Jesse Wood
Construction of the “Rotary Gazebo” in downtown Blowing Rock continues. On Friday, a crew was installing the tongue-and-groove ceiling with a cedar-shake-shingle roof to follow.
The project began in March after the Town of Blowing Rock approved plans and set aside a portion of funds, county maintenance staff and equipment for the replacement of the rotting gazebo that was built in 1976.
Last year, representatives with the Watauga Community Band and the Rotary Club approached the council with cash in hand about building a larger gazebo in Memorial Park to create a bigger space for musical performances and community events. The council then recommended staff to begin working with the group to iron out the details and plans.
The overall construction is estimated to cost $78,540. Of that total, the Town of Blowing Rock donated $3,000 cash and $4,640 worth of labor for demolition. But it in addition, the Town of Blowing Rock will fund $34,880 of site improvements that will be earmarked in the parks and recreation bond funding that was approved during the November election.
The other funding is as follows:
- $40,000 from the Rotary Club
- $10,000 from the Watauga Community Band
- $10,000 in materials from New River Building Supply
- $5,500 in labor from 4 Forty Four Construction
- $3,000 in labor from David Moore Builders
- $2,400 in labor from Steve Price, Architect
John Marshall, president of the Blowing Rock Rotary Club, said that the club was looking for another “signature project” to fund and heard about the gazebo project that the Watauga Community Band was trying to accomplish. Marshall said that $40,000 it donated to the project have come from funds raised through its annual charity auction and Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.
“We are just really happy how it has come along,” Marshall said. “It will just provide a great venue. It is the centerpiece of the Town of Blowing Rock and will provide a great venue for all kinds of events.”
While the structure will be called the “Rotary Gazebo,” a plaque will be produced that recognizes all of the above contributors.
The old gazebo, which was built in 1976, had existing structural damages (rotting posts, termite damage) and would have required “some level of restoration” in the near future, according to an overview of the project on the Town of Blowing Rock’s website.
The new gazebo will be 30-feet wide, while the old gazebo was 14-feet wide. Stones along the walkway will be removed, saved for another project and replaced by stamped-concrete sidewalk. The gravel and dirt access road will be replaced with traditional concrete. Among other renovations, wooden benches will be removed and park benches, which can be removed during a performance, will sit underneath the gazebo.
4 Forty Four Construction is the general contractor on the project.
“It’s really going to be a facelift for the town,” 4 Forty Four owner Kevin Troyer said when the project began. “We are excited about being a part of a collaborative [project] like this in the community.”
Town Manager Scott Fogleman has said that the goal is for construction to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend – weather permitting, of course.