An iconic, but neglected, Santa Barbara treasure is set for some major repairs.
Pershing Park’s Plaza Del Mar Bandstand will undergo a revamp. There’s no roof, much of the building is in disrepair, and the city plans to add a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the building.
“It is such a beautiful piece of architecture and so underutilized right now,” Historic Landmarks Commission member Wendy Edmunds said. “It is an exciting thought that we will be able to have this back in place.”
The commission recently reviewed and supported the project, but suggested that architect Barry Winick redesign the archway path on both sides.
“This is really a very classical building,” Commissioner Bill Mahan said. “It is Roman in its classicism.”
He and other commission members said they preferred a stone railing over an iron railing.
“Generally speaking, I think this is a very fine project, a beautiful building,” Mahan said.
Built in 1919, the band shell often was used for concerts, dramatic performances, recitals and speeches.
The proposed work includes structural repairs; repair of the roof with waterproofing; exterior repairs; accessibility upgrades, including ramp access to the stage, and an accessible route to the ramp and lawn seating area; and electrical improvements, including rehabilitated theatrical lighting, security lighting and power for the stage.
The site currently is fenced off, and access is prohibited.
“It has the unfortuante chain-link fence around it just to keep people from a hazard,” Winick said.
Hattie Beresford, a researcher and historian, spoke at the Sept. 29 meeting, raising some concerns about the accessibility ramp and its effectiveness on the symmetry of the structure.
“I am definitely interested in this particular project,” Beresford said. “I am so happy to hear and see that there are going to be repairs and restoration. It’s a beautiful little structure.”
Commissioner Robert Ooley said he was reminded of 20 years ago when he had a Rusty’s Pizza party at the site. He said the site was “so enjoyable.”
“I look forward to it being activated and made part of the enjoyment of the community,” Ooley said.
Commission chairman Anthony Grumbine said the structure is about as “high-classical as Santa Barbara gets.”
“It’s Mission Revival, but a higher classical form of it,” Grumbine said.
The commission gave the project an indefinite continuance to make the changes, but overall, members were pleased with the direction.
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.