Aug. 21, 2006

Future of Lester Prairie bandstand uncertain

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

Once the site of music and community gatherings, the bandstand in Lester Prairie’s Central Park stands empty and neglected, and faces an uncertain future.

Resident Ralph Machemehl told the city council at its Aug. 7 meeting that he has obtained a lease from McLeod County for the site, which lies in the right-of-way of the former Dakota Rail line.

This led to questions about what is to be done with the structure.

Mayor Eric Angvall said that there was a public outcry a few years ago when the council discussed tearing down the structure.

At the time, the fire department relief association donated $1,500 to the park commission to be used toward repairs, but the park commission returned the money because there was no plan in place, and no one stepped forward to take charge of the project.

The council agreed that the bandstand is in need of repair, and would cost too much to fix.

It was noted that even if the city wants to restore the existing structure so that it could be used, it would need to be brought up to current code, including being made handicap accessible.

The council turned the matter over to the park commission.

Council member and park commission liaison Art Mallak said the park commission discussed the matter at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The commission is in the process of forming a committee that will include interested members of the community to look at the issue.

Once formed, the committee will come up with recommendations to bring before the city council.

Anyone interested in participating in the committee can contact any park commission member.

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