Richfield christens new bandshell with grand opening celebration
From idea to completion, it took more than 30 years for the City of Richfield to realize its dream of building a dedicated performance space where it could showcase its thriving fine arts culture. On Sunday, June 9, 2019, Richfield’s residents came together for a grand opening celebration to inaugurate its new bandshell.
“Richfield is home to several Twin Cities landmarks,” said Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez. “The new bandshell will be a cornerstone of the community that will attract both residents and non-residents to the city, alike.”
The establishment of a bandshell in Richfield goes back decades, with the first suggestion of building a bandshell coming in 1985. The idea was brought up by a resident during conversations about the Veterans Park Master Plan. The idea lay dormant until 2001 when it was put forward again during the Richfield 2020 Comprehensive Plan.
The Richfield Bandshell project began in earnest in 2011 when a group of residents requested the city establish a go-to place for community events and performances. At the time, the primary space available for such events was a concrete slab at Augsburg Park.
“Prior to the construction of the bandshell, as a city, we were limited to the kinds of spaces we could use for outdoor performances. Most of which really did not meet the needs of the performers and the audience,” said Recreation Services Director Amy Markle. “The Augsburg Park venue served us well for decades, but we are now excited to have a new facility that can accommodate a wider variety of performances; including music, movies, theater and dance.”
After numerous studies, feedback from the community and input from experts, the city decided the best place for a bandshell would be Veterans Park. The park, which is the center of many city-wide events, including the farmers market, Red, White and Blue Days celebration, and Urban Wildland Half Marathon, provided the necessary existing infrastructure, parking, bathroom facilities and space, for a project of this nature.
The Richfield Bandshell will be home to the city’s annual Entertainment in the Park concert, which includes both and kids and adult concerts.
“Every summer residents of all ages look forward to the Entertainment in the Park series,” remarked Markle. “Previously, we were limited in the amount of quality seating, but with the new bandshell the sky is the limit when it comes to providing quality entertainment option for residents.”
Richfield’s Recreation Services Department also believes that in time the bandshell will also host weddings, graduations, church services and a myriad of other events.
The building of the bandshell did not burden Richfield residents with a property tax increase.
The new bandshell cost $538,545 to construct, with $325,000 of the needed funding coming in the form of municipal liquor store profits. The remainder of the money was raised from local business and resident donations through the tireless work of the Friends of the Richfield Bandshell, a nonprofit organization.
The Richfield Bandshell is located at 636 East 66th Street, Richfield, MN 55423.
“Public spaces where residents can meet their neighbors do a lot to help build a stronger sense of community,” explained Regan Gonzalez. “It is my hope that the Richfield Bandshell will do just that!”