Home Around Town Wicks band shell part of Saugatuck’s larger parks plan

Wicks band shell part of Saugatuck’s larger parks plan

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Jim Hayden, Correspondent

A new band shell along the Kalamazoo River is the first step in making improvements at Wicks Park.

Saugatuck City Council accepted a $100,000 donation Dec. 23 from the David Balas Jim Sellman Living Trust for the new structure.

“This shows the generosity of the people and their feelings toward Saugatuck,” said Councilman Mark Bekken.

Sellman, a local Realtor, was not at the Dec. 23 meeting. Balas, 67, died Oct. 1. He and Sellman built their home in Saugatuck in 1995.

Balas served on the board for Mason Street Warehouse from 2004 until the equity theatre merged with the Saugatuck Center for the Arts in 2012. He was a member of the Saugatuck Historic District Commission from 2007 until 2009.

Council’s five-year recreation plan for the city’s 11 properties totaling more than 163 acres includes a band shell at Wicks Park on Water Street with an estimated cost of $175,000. The park is the site of many community events including Music in the Park free concerts now held in a gazebo. That structure needs structural and electrical upgrades.

The recreation plan has allotted $560,200 in total for work at the park, including a new restroom facility for $125,000. The current bathroom building is well known by the mural on the outside walls of “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. The facility is now subject to flooding from high water levels.

The band shell will be completed no later than May 15, 2021, according to proposed donation agreement. The structure will be named the “Balas Sellman Band Shell at Wicks Park.”

No design has been determined, according City Manager Kirk Harrier. Council will seek public input on the design of the band shell.

“This is really just the first step,” he said about accepting the donation.