By David Yarger
On Saturday afternoon, the City of North Tonawanda avoided the rain and cut the ribbon to its new band shell at Raymond Klimek Veterans Park, 700 River Road.
New York state Sen. Rob Ortt, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas, Niagara County Eighth District Legislator Richard Andres, Director of Parks and Recreation Patty Brosius and the rest of the North Tonawanda Common Council were on hand to welcome the new event venue to the city.
The day began with presentation of the colors by the Stephen Sikora Post and the national anthem sung by Henry Pendleton and the High School Jack and Jills Chorus.
Next, Brosius, Andres, Pappas and Ortt said a few words about the band shell.
Brosius, said the band shell replaces the mobile stage, which was purchased in an auction in 2013, and enhances the park she knew the idea would be tough to manage.
"We knew this was a wonderful idea, but we also knew that the cost was more than the Parks and Recreation Department could hope to budget. Therefore, Mark (Zimmerman) and I met with members of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, Legislator Richard Andres, Mayor Art Pappas and the North Tonawanda Common Council who were very receptive to this idea. We cooperated together to make this goal a reality," Brosius said.
The grant for the band shell was received in March 2017 from the NRGC.
Brosius added, "We know that this addition will not only greatly enhance the life of our community, but our park as well."
On the band shell, Andres said, "This is the type of thing that the Greenway had in mind when they created that fund - making this community better through enhancement projects like these, building on successes like these ... to make this community a better place through its parks and recreation."
Pappas mentioned how the past mobile stage was destroyed during a windstorm and how he thought, "Maybe that was a blessing? Because look at what we have in its place."
Pappas added, "This is the opportunity, today, to start off a season with a band. We talk about banding. When we band, we bring people together. ... We're going to do a lot of banding this year ... between the choral groups, the musicians and every event that takes place. Can you imagine, now with this wonderful facility, what we can accomplish and the different venues that can take place here?"
The ribbon cutting took place on Armed Forces Day, and Ortt said, "I can't think of a more appropriate thing to do on Armed Forces Day than to celebrate an investment in Raymond Klimek Veterans Park."
Following the ribbon cutting, the city broke in the band shell with several musical presentations.
Brosius also mentioned there will be easy listening concerts, plays, exercise classes, religious services, a family fun night and more. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 695-8520.