Tag Archives: New York State Pavilion

Former 1964 World’s Fair office building set for upgrade


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy NYC Department of Parks and Recreation


Recent talks of upgrading World’s Fair relics seem to focus on the New York State Pavilion.

But the Olmsted Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which was constructed in 1964 and used as temporary offices for Robert Moses and the World’s Fair Corporation staff during the colossal event, is also getting a makeover.

The Parks Department announced Aug. 4 that it is collecting bids for a contractor to renovate the center, which is named in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer of Central, Prospect and Riverside parks. Today, the building houses the bulk of the agency’s capital project staff.

The renovation project, which is designed by BKSK Architects, is split in two phases.

The first is the expansion of the center with a new 10,000-square-foot annex building, which is nearing completion.

The second phase, which will commence in early 2015, will technologically enhance the building and resolve flooding problems. It will include a new water channel system to lead water into bioswales that will contain and absorb it.

The renovated building will include Kebony wood for the walkways, complimented by steel railings and stainless steel cabling.

The construction will also include new siding to improve the center’s resistance to weather, and reconfiguration of the interior to accommodate employees and people with disabilities.

The bids are due Sept. 8.

 

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Vandals damage NYS Pavilion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Piro

BENJAMIN FANG

Vandals caused mischief at the storied New York State Pavilion last weekend, setting a stolen van ablaze and damaging its terrazzo map, according to a member of an advocacy group for the structure.

John Piro, co-founder of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a local group dedicated to restoring the 1964-1965 World’s Fair figure in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, said the delinquents were causing havoc.

“They came in with a stolen van, broke the lock [of the park] and set the van on fire,” said Piro, who saw the aftermath on Monday morning after the Parks Department saw it on Sunday.

He said they also burned the tarp on the gravel, knocked down steel beams and even damaged what’s left of the Pavilion’s terrazzo map on its ground by using a cinder block to smash the map’s corner panel.

“It’s heartbreaking, after all the work we’ve done,” Piro said. “Hopefully it will never happen again.

THE COURIER/File photo

The incident, first reported by the New York Daily News, comes at the heels of the World’s Fair 50th anniversary celebration just two months ago. The Pavilion opened to the public for the first time in decades this April to also commemorate the historic event.

Last November, the Parks Department released plans to fix the relic, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. Borough President Melinda Katz created a task force of local officials, and civic and community leaders to construct a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

For now, Piro said he is just grateful nothing worse happened.

“They could have caused a lot more damage,” he said. “Now we have to try to do something preventative.” He said they’re looking into something along the lines of an alarm.

The Parks Department said it inspected the site and only found minimal damage.

“This will not have any effect on our efforts to stabilize and preserve the New York State Pavilion,” parks officials said.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

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Attend a Mets game to support the NYS Pavilion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Mets


The Mets are stepping up to the plate to help out one of their iconic neighbors.

In cooperation with People for the Pavilion (PFP) and to celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs, a portion of each ticket purchased through a special online offer for the team’s Friday, August 1 game at Citi Field will help support the PFP’s initiative of preserving the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Purchasers will receive a Limited Edition Mets Pavilion t-shirt. Additionally, groups of 25 or more get welcomed on the Right Field Scoreboard and the group leader receives four tickets to the game of their choice (tickets subject to availability).

To buy tickets for the 7:10 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants, click here.

 

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LIC and Astoria Flea & Food vendors to be at World’s Fair Anniversary Festival


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Several food vendors from the LIC Flea & Food and Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios are making their way to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park this Sunday to add their flavor to the World’s Fair festivities.

Visitors to the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival will be able to taste empanadas from Jessy’s Pastries, Old Fashioned Donuts, brisket from Butcher Bar, Finga Lickin Jamaican Jerk Spot’s jerk chicken, Kosofresh’s rice bowls, Fav’s Treatery’s muffins stuffed with cheeses and meats, ZhaPanAsian riceballs, kosher cheeses from The Cheese Guy, Drink More Good syrups and drinks, and cool down with lemonade from Frittering Away.

The vendors will be located by the rides and just steps away from the New York State Pavilion.

The World’s Fair Anniversary Festival begins at 1 p.m. and a variety of music, including tunes from a Beatles Tribute band, book readings, puppet shows and food from around the world. The festival will then end with a sky-filled with fireworks.

 

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Star of Queens: Mitch Silverstein, co-founder, New York State Pavilion Paint Project


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

MSS2

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mitch Silverstein is co-founder of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a volunteer group dedicated to maintaining the 1964-65 World’s Fair figure in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park through painting and other upkeep projects.

BACKGROUND: Born in Brooklyn, Silverstein, 55, moved to Long Island in 1963. He has fond memories of visiting the World’s Fair as a child. In addition to his Pavilion work, the event also inspired him to study science and become a biologist. Today, Silverstein lives in Rockland County, N.Y., but “gladly commutes” to Queens for his Paint Project work.

GOALS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: The New York State Pavilion Paint Project started in 2009, when co-founder John Piro wanted to repaint its stripes after the structure had been neglected. At first it was just the two of them, but there is now a core group of five to eight, with as many as 10 volunteers at a time.

“We figured that the paint would not only improve the park and the Pavilion, but it was also a form of advocacy. It was a hope for the future,” Silverstein said.

The group also does cleanup and minor repairs. It recently helped open up the Pavilion to the public for the first time in decades, after Piro approached the Parks Department with the idea. On April 22, on the fair’s 50th anniversary, around 2,000 came to the event, according to Silverstein.

He said the group hopes to continue helping the Pavilion “look nice” and “keep its dignity.” Silverstein, along with Piro and another group member, is part of a task force put together by Borough President Melinda Katz to create a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

INSPIRATION: Silverstein is inspired by his desire to see the Pavilion preserved and other groups that are advocating for the structure and are supportive of his own group’s work.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: One step forward was when Borough President Melinda Katz declared she was dedicated to preserving the Pavilion, Silverstein said, but support and funding from multiple sources will likely be needed to stabilize and ultimately save it.

 

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NYS Pavilion recognized as ‘National Treasure’ on World’s Fair anniversary


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

The New York State Pavilion, a surviving relic of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, was named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the famed event.

Following the recognition on Tuesday, the Parks Department opened the Pavilion to the public for the first time for decades. The Pavilion recently received a fresh coat of paint from the advocacy group New York State Pavilion Paint Project, but its space-like structures have rusted over and it is in need of repair.

The hope is that the designation, which puts it among nearly 40 other historic places and buildings around the country, would help attract funds — estimated to be at least $43 million — to save it.

“For a long time the future of this building was a question mark,” said Paul Goldberger, a board member of the nonprofit group. “But in time it will not be a question mark at all, I think it will be a different piece of punctuation. It will be a great exclamation point in the middle of a resurgent Queens.”

In its heyday, the Pavilion featured the Tent of Tomorrow, three towers and the Theaterama, which is now the nearby Queens Theatre. When it was constructed, the Tent of Tomorrow had a $1 million map of New York State on its floor, made of 567 mosaic panels weighing 400 pounds each and colorful stained glass panels on its ceiling. Two of the towers had cafeterias for the fair, while the tallest, which stands at 226 feet, was used as an observation deck.

“It’s not what it was,” said Elaine Goldstein of Howard Beach, who visited both 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs. “It’s hurtful to see that it went into disrepair.”

Thousands of people from all walks of life, many of whom had a connection to the Pavilion, walked through the gates with hard hats to tour the aged structure.

“This is the greatest moment of my life,” said Natali Bravo, a resident from Rego Park, who was shooting pictures of the Pavilion with a 1964 Kodak World’s Fair Camera. “This is the first time I’m actually setting foot in here. To actually be photographing this event the way it was meant to be photographed with this camera is a very special thing.”

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Rain. High around 60. Winds S at 25 to 35 mph. Rainfall may reach one inch. Tuesday night: Rain early with snow overnight. Low 32F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: 64 in 64

Organized by the Queens Historical Society, 64 photographs documenting the construction of the iconic New York State Pavilion, which consisted of Theaterama (today’s Queens Theatre), the Tent of Tomorrow and three Observation Towers. Runs through Nov. 2, open on Mondays from 11 am to 2 pm and Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm. at the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows-Cornona Park. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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NYS Pavilion to open to public on 50th anniversary


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

pavilion

The public will be able to get an up-close look at the  New York State Pavilion next month on the 50th anniversary of the structure’s opening.

New York State Pavilion Paint Project Crew, a group that has been painting and caring for the site since 2009, just announced that on April 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the north gate of the Pavilion will be opened to allow limited access for visitors to view and take photos of the inside of the structure.

The Paint Project Crew, which helped make the opening possible along with the Parks Department, will be around to answer questions and speak about the Pavilion’s past, present and future.

RSVPs are not required. Visitors will need to wear hard hats, which will be provided.

Along with the Pavilion Paint Project Crew, community leaders and elected officials have also been advocating for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair figure’s restoration.

Located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Pavilion is in need of both external and internal repairs.

In November, the Parks Department released plans to restore it, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. An option to tear it down would cost about $14 million.

Last month, Borough President Melinda Katz declared her support for saving the structure and said she would form a task force, consisting of elected officials, community leaders and advocates, who will meet regularly at Queens Borough Hall to create a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

The first of those meetings was held on Friday, March 14, which resulted in attendees agreeing to continue working on a viable plan for the Pavilion.

Katz included the site as part of her approved package of expense and capital budget priorities for the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

It calls for $45 million in combined capital funds from state and city over four years for restoring the Pavilion, according to a spokesperson for Katz’s office.

Those funds will immediately go toward needs, such as upgrading the electrical system and installing a roof over the three towers to prevent further structural damage.

“We’re very excited to see that the borough president feels strongly enough about the project to take action and we’re just excited to see what comes of it,” said Matthew Silva, co-founder of People For the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site’s restoration.

 

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Star of Queens: Matthew Silva, co-founder, People for the Pavilion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Matthew silva

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Matthew Silva is co-founder of People for the Pavilion, an organization created in May of 2013 to fight for the preservation of the New York State Pavilion.

BACKGROUND: Born at Flushing Hospital, Queens, Silva lived in Middle Village until his family moved to Stony Brook, Long Island, when he was three.

“When in Queens, I would always see the buildings looking out the window of my parents’ car and I always wondered what they were,” said Silva.

Silva attended SUNY Oswego, where he studied technology and video production. He now works as an educator, teaching technology.

After learning the history of the New York State Pavilion, he started making a film to educate people about the significance of the site.

Two years ago, Silva involved his eighth grade class in his passion for the Pavilion and created a project allowing them to redesign the building for community use. “They loved it, and that’s part of what started the group [People for the Pavilion] –I realized there were a lot of people out there who had a connection to these buildings.”

While promoting his film last May, he met Christian Doran, and they came together and decided they would form an organization that would work to save the New York State Pavilion.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Because the organization is still so new, Silva says he is still enjoying every part of this adventure.

“This all began with a film, and film is a very powerful medium, so I would just say the most exciting part of all of this is the next milestone we reach.”

BIGGEST INSPIRATION: Although so many things inspire him today, Silva’s biggest inspiration is Phillip Johnson, architect of the New York State Pavilion.

“He [Johnson] was such a champion for the city and for arts and architecture, so I felt someone had to fight for his ailing work,” said Silva.

Silva finds that many people have a connection to these buildings and hopes that people will visit his Kickstarter page called “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion” and help in any way they can.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Silva and People for the Pavilion have had a lot of good luck since launching, but Silva feels the biggest challenge will be convincing the masses of the need to save the Pavilion and finding and funding an adaptive reuse that captures the imagination of people.

 

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Katz rebrands Queens as center of the city in speech


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Queens is the center of New York City, according to new Borough President Melinda Katz, and she wants people from the “outer-boroughs” to know that.

Katz gave a patriotic lecture on Tuesday, explaining her economic initiatives and rebranding Queens as the city’s prime tourist destination.

“Manhattan should be known for recommending Queens restaurants and shopping, and all the cultural events that we have to offer,” Katz said.

Katz vowed to restart predecessor Claire Shulman’s “War Room” to help solve overcrowding in school, and also voiced her support for universal pre-kindergarten.

“Space is needed, pre-k is needed,” she said. “We need to at least have our children start on equal footing and get the education they need.”

The Borough President pledged that her administration will help future small businesses owners to navigate the process of creating their companies, and she plans to use real estate development projects to spur job growth.

She wants to assist Long Island City become the next major tech hub so more entrepreneurs, especially those graduating from the forthcoming Cornell-Technion school, stay in Queens.

Katz additionally expressed her excitement for Governor Andrew Cuomo taking the lead to renovate the area airports.

“You come to the city of New York, we should have the top flight– excuse the pun– airports in the entire world,” she said.

Turning to the Rockaways, Katz voiced support for permanent ferry service and said she wants reconstruction on the boardwalk “done before 2017.”

She also reiterated in the speech that she will save the New York State Pavilion.

“The speech hit all the right notes,” said Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “I feel that Queens is ready to steal Brooklyn’s mojo.”

 

 

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Katz commits to restoring NY State Pavilion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Borough President Melinda Katz, on a tour of the New York State Pavilion Thursday, said she wanted to save the site.

KATELYN DI SALVO

Borough President Melinda Katz is saying yes to saving the iconic New York State Pavilion.

The NYC Parks Department released plans last fall for both restoring and potentially tearing down the deteriorating 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair figure.

Cost estimates to fix the Pavilion, which includes the Observation Towers and the Tent of Tomorrow, start at $43 million.

An option to knock it down would cost about $14 million.

During a tour of the site on Thursday in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Katz said that $14 million should be spent on repairing, not destroying, it.

“Let’s take that money and put it towards this project,” she said.

Other local politicians, civic and cultural leaders, community board members and Parks Department officials joined Katz on the tour to get a closer look at the site.

Repairs include the cable roof system in the Tent of Tomorrow, the concrete columns and stabilization of the wood pilings in the Tent, as well as basic utility work, said Meira Berkower, director of planning for the Parks Department.

Katz said she will be forming a task force, consisting of elected officials,  community leaders and advocates, who will meet regularly at Queens Borough Hall to create a plan for the Pavilion’s future.

“Give me a month to figure out the ‘who what where and when,’” she said, adding it’s important to restore the outside for “safety reasons.”

People For the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site, is excited about the participation of the borough president and other local electeds in the project.

“Moving forward, we want to continue to raise the profile of the building and educate the community, said People for the Pavilion member Matthew Silva. “We will be doing public programming celebrating its 50th anniversary so people can see what happened here 50 years ago.”

 

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Star of Queens: Jean. C. Silva, president, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jean. C. Silva is the president of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, a civic association that is dedicated in preserving, restoring and maintaining the natural, historic and cultural integrity of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

BACKGROUND: Silva was born and raised in Brooklyn, and then moved to Queens. After spending most of her time and effort working in Manhattan, Silva decided she should put more time into her own community and got involved with the Conservancy. She has been the president of the organization since November, 2011.

“In 2004, I met Patricia Dolan [while] volunteering at the Queens Community House, and she was the person who got me involved in the Conservancy,” said Silva.

GOALS: In the coming year, Silva plans on preserving and maintaining the natural and cultural virtue of the park, in order to ensure the park’s educational, environmental and recreational benefits for all users.

“We would like to work with the Parks Department in continuing to preserve and maintain the Pat Dolan Trail with our hikes, field trips and bird watching.”

BEST MEMORY: Silva’s fondest memory is watching people’s reaction when entering Willow Lake, a hidden treasure smack in the middle of two major highways, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.

“It’s like a different world, it’s so quiet, soothing, and peaceful, you feel like you’re not even in Queens,” she said.

Silva remembered seeing a variety of different birds migrating south, and even a muskrat while on the Pat Dolan Trail.

“We have a lot of different animals here, and some of them you would never think would be here in Queens. It’s like you’re really in the country.”

INSPIRATION: Silva’s biggest inspiration was working with the Parks Department to get Willow Lake open again. It took 18 years, but the organization was able to do it, and renamed the trail the Pat Dolan Trail in remembrance of the founder, Patricia Dolan, who had been killed in a tragic car accident in November 2011.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Silva says Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is underutilized and underfunded and she wants to change that. She also mentioned potential plans to restore the New York State Pavilion and her hopes to bring it back to its glory.

 

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Public comes out to support restoring NY State Pavilion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of People for the New York State Pavilion Facebook page

As the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair is set to mark its 50th anniversary, the Parks Department and an advocacy group are asking the community to share its vision for one of the event’s iconic structures.

The New York State Pavilion, located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, is in need of both external and internal repairs. In November, the Parks Department released plans to restore it, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. An option to tear it down would cost about $14 million.

The Parks Department gave three public presentations this past week on those plans.

“Nearly everyone who attended the visioning sessions favored preserving or restoring the Pavilion,” a Parks Department spokesperson said.

An online survey will be posted on the Department’s website until March 15 for those who weren’t able to come. The Parks Department will then meet with elected officials to discuss funding options.

People For the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site, held its own event on Saturday, January 25 on the history of the structure and to get feedback on its future.

Close to 300 people attended, and were enthusiastic about saving the structure, People For the Pavilion member Matthew Silva said. The group would like to hold similar events in the future.

“We want to work hand in hand with the Parks Department in supporting their efforts,” said Silva.

One idea suggested at that meeting was to spruce up the Pavilion with paint, and possibly lighting, he said. “It would be a step in the right direction,” Silva said, adding smaller restorations would change its public perception and help it from deteriorating.

Silva has also created a film to help the effort. “MODERN RUIN: A World’s Fair Pavilion” chronicles the history of the structure from its debut at the World’s Fair to its years of neglect.

To complete post production, Silva needs $10,000 and has started a fundraiser through Kickstarter to reach that goal.

11-18-13 NYS Pavilion Borough Board Presentation

Courtesy of NYC Parks Department


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Parks Dept. invites community to ‘share vision’ for New York State Pavilion’s future


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of People for the New York State Pavilion Facebook page

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND MAGGIE HAYES 

The city’s Parks Department will be holding meetings this coming week to get feedback from the community on potential plans for the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the iconic, yet crumbling figure is in need of both internal and external repairs.

In November, the Parks Department released plans to restore the Pavilion, with cost estimates, as well as an option to tear it down for approximately $14 million.

One of the restoration plans could cost as high as $73 million.

Architectural firm Perkins + Will created an “adaptive reuse” concept, which would modify the site and add event spaces and landscaped paths.

Another option would stabilize the Observation Towers and the Tent of Tomorrow for $43 million, prohibiting public access.

A plan from the Parks Department to stabilize the towers would replace perimeter walls, elevator shafts and equipment, and bring all electrical up to code.

Matthew Silva, a member of People for the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site, countered that plan and said that “certainly stabilizing it is something that is nice, but then it’s not something that can be utilized.”

A tentative plan to restore the Pavilion to again include access to the Tent and Towers, will climb to about $52 million.

People for the Pavilion feels the “best action would be to make it an institution, a cultural center that can be used for future generations,” said Silva.

The Parks Department will be giving a presentation on the recent structural studies that were completed on the Tent of Tomorrow and Towers during three meetings.

They will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.to 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave.,  Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The Parks Department is inviting people to  “come and share [their] vision for the future of the Pavilion.”

Following the meetings, a questionnaire will be posted on the Parks Department website to get feedback from people who were not able to attend, a Parks spokesperson said. The Parks Department will then meet with elected officials to discuss funding options.

People for the Pavilion, which would like to form a coalition of individuals and organizations interested in the preservation of the Pavilion, will be holding its own presentation on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2:00 p.m. at the Queens Theatre about the “structures’ past and present, before meeting others interested in its future.” The presentation is free and open to the public. RSVP‘s are requested but not required.

 

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Millions needed to save New York State Pavilion: Parks Department


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of People for the New York State Pavilion Facebook page

The city’s Parks Department presented plans this week for the crumbling but iconic New York State Pavilion.

An option to tear down the deteriorating 1964-65 World’s Fair figure, which is in need of an inordinate amount of internal and external fixes, could cost $14 million.

But a plan to restore the site could cost $73 million, according to a Parks study.

Architectural firm Perkins + Will created an “adaptive reuse” concept, which would modify the site and add event spaces and landscaped paths.

Parks detailed a plan to stabilize the towers by replacing perimeter walls, elevator shafts and equipment and bringing all electrical up to code.

People for the Pavilion, an advocacy group for the site, feels the “best action would be to make it an institution, a cultural center that can be used for future generations,” said member Matthew Silva.

Another option would stabilize the Observation Towers and the Tent of Tomorrow for $43 million, prohibiting public access.

Silva countered that plan and said that “certainly stabilizing it is something that is nice, but then it’s not something that can be utilized.”

“We want to advocate for making that part of the park a usable and very lively place. It should be used in a dynamic way,” he said.

Additionally, a tentative plan to restore the Pavilion to again include access to the Tent and Towers, will climb to about $52 million.

Costs quoted for preliminary plans are rough estimates, said a Parks spokesperson. The department will accept feedback at community meetings. Dates will be announced soon.

 

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