GREENVILLE - The Marling Bandshell, an iconic Greenville landmark located in the city park, is slated for some major repairs in the upcoming year.
The bandshell was declared “structurally deficient” in a Structural Evaluation Report in October conducted by the engineering firm Mote & Associates. The evaluation was a result of a prior visual inspection of the bandshell’s deterioration to determine potential problems, and improvement of the facility has been a topic for years prior.
“Just from the physical observance of it you knew it needed a facelift and needed some help,” said Greenville Mayor Mike Bowers. “It was always a priority, but it was just about finding the funding for the project.
Last year the City of Greenville allocated around $60,000 from its capital improvement funds for the repair of the Marling Band Shell, but after early surveys found the bandshell to have more structural issues than previously thought the project was pushed into 2014.
According to the evaluation, the Marling Band Shell’s major issues is that it is “structurally deficient due to substantial movement of its structural second and third frames.” There is no lateral bracing through the north/south direction to support the frames against each other, which is a key element in the integrity of the structure. Motes also stated that the construction would not meet today’s Ohio Building Code or other safety standards.
While most visitors of the park notice the facade of the bandshell, it also houses two restrooms which can become saturated with standing water and are in need of floor and roof repairs. In addition, several parts of the building have deteriorated significantly, suffering from full exposure to the element and the roof is thought to have significant roof damage.
Based on the information available, the Marling Band Shell was constructed in the late teens or early 1920’s with contributions from the A.J. Marling estate.
In order to resolve the band shell’s issues, Mote & Associates recommended two options: the rehabilitation of the original building which would return the structure in a similar condition to how it currently exists, or a complete demolishment and replacement, salvaging only the exterior portion of the stage and foundation.
The preliminary cost estimate for the Marling Band Shell rehabilitation was $97,200 while the reconstruction was estimated as $175,500.
While both options have their pros and cons, the Greenville Park Board will ultimately decide the direction of the project, and will listen to input from the community and municipal band leaders in an effort to reach the most beneficial solution.
“Marling Bandshell is a Greenville treasure, and the park board looks forward to offering new upgrades for its many fans and band members, both present and future,” said Greenville Park Board Vice President Meredith Carpe.
Regardless of the decision, Marling Bandshell has retained a special place in Greenville’s history, showcasing one of Ohio’s oldest community bands on record. And the Greenville administration is focused not only on retaining the history and feel of the bandshell, but also to retain its unique acoustics which listeners have become accustomed to over the years.
Currently, the Greenville Park Board is planning to complete the Marling Band Shell upgrades by the July 4th weekend in order to facilitate the municipal band’s opening dates, which means the decision to move forward must be reached soon.
“We’re going to be working on this pretty extensively in the next couple of weeks so that we can achieve the repairs or construction in a limited time frame,” said Mayor Bowers.
And with good reason, as the Mote and Associates evaluation recommended that “no portion of this structure be used for any purpose until repairs are completed throughout the building.”