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Lions announced August picnic in park event to help fund new band shell

Dan McClelland

The Tupper Lake Lions Club, which is working with a village board-commissioned committee to build a new band shell at Flanders’ Park, announced plans this week for what club leaders are calling a “Picnic in the Park.”  The date of the benefit is Thursday, August 18 from 5p.m. to 9p.m.
“We’re hoping the community will join us for what we know will be a great evening for a great cause,” Lions President Dan McClelland said.
The Lions are donating all the food for the event so that almost all of the proceeds from the ticket sales to go to help funding the new band shell on the shoreline of Raquette Pond.
The Tupper Lake VFW Post is working with the Lions on this community event and will be operating a beer and wine concession that evening.
“We’re talking with some local entertainers about performing there for us,” Mr. McClelland noted.  
The village won a $90,000 grant through its ongoing waterfront improvement program from which some of the band shell money will come, but one of the requirements is that about 30% of the project’s cost must be raised locally.
Fundraising to meet that local share is what part of the Lions Club’s involvement is all about.  The Lions also want to actually build the structure next spring.
At a project meeting held by the club last week Lions Scott Edwards and Chris Zaiden volunteered to spearhead the actual construction of the band shell.
Lion Tom Sciacca has offered to share his culinary talents with the town as the picnic’s premier chef.  Helping Tom to direct the food preparation effort are Lions Nina Tice and Mary Sojda.
The service organization has assigned its president to serve with a village committee comprised of Village Clerk Mary Casagrain, Code Enforcement Officer Peter Edwards, Village Trustee Ron LaScala and Community Development Specialist Melissa McManus, who has landed thousands of dollars in grant money for shoreline and park improvements for the village in recent years.
A liaison with the committee is the Terrain Group of New York City which is working on a master plan for the park and the beach study.
The committee has reached out to Engineer Kurt Bedore, a Tupper Lake native who operates an engineering firm downstate, to consider designing the new band shell.
Mr. Bedore has donated considerable time and talent to current and upcoming phases of the Adirondack Public Observatory project in recent years.  
“It will be great to have someone with Kurt’s talent on our team,” Trustee Ron LaScala said at last week’s village board meeting.
He also applauded the Tupper Lake Lions for their offer to help create a new band shell in the municipal park.
“We’re hoping to have our band shell completed by this time next year,” he predicted, adding that without the active involvement of the Lions, the project would have taken much longer…perhaps years.
This past week Peter Edwards forwarded various plans for band shells that he found on the internet to Mr. Bedore for his consideration.
Once the committee has several possible designs in hand, they will be presented to community residents at a public meeting in upcoming months for their comments.
In its renderings of possible improvements for the park, the Terrain firm had included a teepee style band shell, with an open front and back.
At a recent band shell committee meeting, members agreed that any band shell should be three-sided with a roof.  Otherwise the strong winds off the pond will blow performers off the stage.
Typically band shells are three-sided, roofed structures where entertainers perform to audiences relaxing on lawn chair or benches on the grass in front of them.
Tickets to the event will go on sale in early July.  Watch for upcoming advertisements in the hometown weekly.