Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Bandstand must be preserved

I am absolutely in favor of an accessible outdoor performance space for Bristol. I am also absolutely opposed to rebuilding or re-modeling the Bandstand to achieve this purpose. If we want to provide a bigger, accessible outdoor performance space, we should do that: Build a purpose-built structure that is accessible to ALL. Bristol hosts many concerts and shows both at the park and the rec fields, as well as other events such as the Pocock Rocks festival and the festivities for the 4th of July. It would seem there is a need for this type of structure.

However, trying to force the old Bandstand to serve in this capacity is a poor fit. The Bristol Bandstand is a historic structure. It is instantly recognizable and a symbol of Bristol like the Lord’s Prayer Rock or Holley Hall. While there are many historic bandstands in greens around Vermont, may I be so bold as to declare Bristol’s the loveliest. Tearing it down and replacing it with a modern facsimile would remove an integral and iconic part of Bristol’s history and its image. Because of its height, remodeling it to be fully accessible would require a ramp so long it would entirely wrap around the bandstand and end up being bigger than the Bandstand itself, completely engulfing it, removing all historical integrity, and completely changing its appearance.

Instead of attempting to make the historic Bandstand something else, let’s put our energy and funds towards creating a new purpose-built outdoor performance venue that will fulfill today’s community needs in terms of space and accessibility. Let’s appreciate our history and keep the Bandstand as the historic structure it is.

Claire Corkins

Bristol

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