Boise & Garden City

Boise’s beloved band shell to be rebuilt after fire to preserve its character, charm

After a destructive fire last year, the city of Boise plans to restore the historic Gene Harris Bandshell in Julia Davis Park, the city reported Tuesday.

The band shell fire, which was human caused, was reported April 23, 2018, authorities previously said. Parks and Recreation team members have worked with structural engineers to clean up and secure the facility, according to a press release from the city.

A local architect recently completed a review of the structure and has created a plan to refurbish the band shell. The fire badly damaged the roof and walls, and the city reported that the cost for repairs is estimated to be about $430,000. That cost will be covered by insurance.

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

The restoration plan includes building a green room inside the band shell, 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 city reported.

“The city of Boise is also looking into adding a shade structure to the band shell to enhance its use as a community gathering place,” the city reported.

The cost of the new amenities are not covered by insurance, are estimated to cost about $400,000.

“The city is looking at ways to fund this portion of the improvement project,” according to the release.

The shade structure work would include connections for additional lights for the stage and other improvements.

Parks and Recreation is finalizing bid documents for the architect’s plan and once bids are awarded, construction will begin.

“While there is no set timeline for this work to start, department leadership is 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 on Sept. 20 is being planned at the band shell after the city can make its improvements.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.