Gene Harris Bandshell restoration work to begin soon

Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 18:28:09-04

BOISE — Boise City officials say the Gene Harris Bandshell in Julia Davis Park –- which was damaged by a human-caused fire a year ago –- could be back in business by September.

A fire broke out at the bandshell on the evening of April 23, 2018. Since then, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department has been restoring the structure that plays host to more than a dozen community events each year.

Parks and Recreation team members have been working with structural engineers to clean-up and secure the facility. “A local architect recently completed a thorough review of the structure -- and has created a plan to refurbish and improve it for use by future generations,” said Boise City Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Bonnie Shelton.

“Our team understands the importance of preserving the historic details of the bandshell and will work with contractors to preserve this important structure’s character and charm,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “For example, the tiles saved from the bandshell’s roof will be used in repairing the structure.”

In addition to restoring the bandshell’s roof and walls that were badly damaged in the fire, the restoration plan includes building a green room inside the bandshell, upgrading the restrooms, and improvements to A/V equipment -- including LED lights for the stage and new control boards to manage sound at events. The cost for these repairs and upgrades is estimated at around $430,000, and will be covered by insurance.

The City of Boise is also looking into adding a shade structure to the bandshell to enhance its use as a community gathering place. The cost for the canopy and some additional amenities is estimated at just under $400,000, officials said, and the city is looking at ways to fund this portion of the improvement project. The shade structure work would include connections for additional lights to shine on the stage, other A/V equipment, and site improvements including an accessible viewing area at the bandshell.

“The Boise Parks and Recreation team is finalizing bid documents right now based on the architect’s restoration plan. Once they go out and are awarded, construction on the bandshell will begin shortly after,” Shelton explained.

While there is no set timeline for the work to start, officials said they’re confident the improvements to the Gene Harris Bandshell will be completed in time for the city’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Boise River Greenbelt Sept. 19-21.

A free concert is being planned at the bandshell in Julia Davis Park on the evening of Friday, Sept. 20.