Lee nonprofit to upgrade bustling downtown church grounds with pavilion | Central Berkshires


LEE – A nonprofit that has upgraded the downtown busiest park in recent years is looking to add a pavilion next spring.

Preservation of the Berkshire footbridge began raising funds for the project estimated at $ 25,000 for the grounds of the First Congregational Church – the city’s de facto plaza.

The 14 foot by 20 foot open structure – it will be 13 ½ feet high – will be placed on a concrete slab in a little used space.

“We didn’t want to destroy the opening of the park, and [the easterly side] tended to be a dead space that no one was using, ”said Garth Story, head of Berkshire Gateway Preservation, of the pavilion’s chosen size.

Garth Story David Markham and architect Kerry Bartini examine plans for the park pavilion at First Congregational Church in Lee

Story, First Congregational Church moderator David Markham and architect Kerry Bartini review the pavilion plans.

Kerry Bartini, a native of Lee and architect of Berkshire Design, welcomed the small but important project to his company.

“As an architect, we want to shape the way spaces are used, and this is a Lee project,” said Bartini, who is also working on a community center project for the city.

Once built, the pavilion will join other improvements to the preservation of the Berkshire Footbridge and aesthetic improvements to the park.

After a $ 46,000 restoration, the Kilbon Memorial Fountain, depicting the face of Mohican Chief Konkapot of the Stockbridge Tribe, was rededicated on Memorial Day weekend 2019.

A year later, a 25-foot multi-colored wooden sculpture was created and installed by artist and Lee summer resident Harold Grinspoon. The sculpture’s orange, yellow, red, blue, and other streaks complement the brightly colored visitor center and picnic tables in the town’s unofficial plaza.

Berkshire Gateway Preservation is looking to raise $ 15,000, more than enough to match the state grant of $ 12,900 that the nonprofit is about to receive.

Lee's Kilbon Memorial Fountain is expected to be back in action for Memorial Day (copy)

The Kilbon Memorial Fountain, depicting the face of the Mohican chief Konkapot, was restored two years ago, as part of an ongoing upgrade to the church grounds.

“If we can raise enough funds, maybe we can pour the pavilion slab before winter. Otherwise, the pavilion will be built in the spring, ”Story said.

The association secured the Lee Middle and High School Carpentry Program, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Lee, to build the pavilion, which is modeled after the one in Lilac Park in downtown Lenox.

Why a pavilion?

The park is popular with locals and tourists alike looking to relax on the lawn or use one of the colorful picnic tables. The township is home to the seasonal Lee Farmers’ Market, hosts the annual First Congregational Church Craft Fair, and is the hub of many activities at the annual Lee Founders Weekend in late September. Unfortunately, the three-day event has been canceled for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“[The pavilion] will be an asset to the church and the city … and encourage community participation, ”said church moderator David Markham.

Supporters of the project had considered moving the town kiosk near the post office, but they decided to have one to their liking and it wasn’t too big or overwhelming, according to Story.


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