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Morgan Park Gazebo Good As New

Nearly a year to the day after a storm crushed the gazebo at Morgan Memorial Park, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on July 4 to officially “open” the renovated structure that looks as good as new, and is even stronger than before.

“The restored gazebo has new columns made of a textile material that paints like wood but is strong like fiberglass,” says Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi.  “Inside the outer columns is a 2.5 inch steel skeleton fastened to steel I-beams under the copper roof and behind the surrounding wooden curtain. The restored gazebo has exceptional horizontal and vertical strength that greatly exceeds its original design specifications. It will stand strong and proud as the iconic symbol of our city’s identity, history and as part of the legacy of Morgan Memorial Park well into the next century and beyond.”

Immediately following the storm, the City of Glen Cove began making plans for rebuilding the gazebo, using the original blueprints plus steel supports to reinforce the structure.  It was expected to be finished by Thanksgiving, but Hurricane Sandy, followed by winter weather, delayed the project. The final date of completion was June 4.

The completed project comes just in time for all of the summer events that will take place at the park, including the Fourth of July celebration of music and fireworks, and the Morgan Park Concert Series that will begin on Sunday, July 7.

The entire structure came down during a July 18, 2012 thunderstorm as a result of a “microburst,” leaving the park bare of its 80-year-old monument and the community devoid of its own piece of personal history.

The gazebo was built by J.P. Morgan in 1932 and has been used by city residents as a place of solace, an escape from the harsh rays of the sun and as perfect photo opportunity for wedding parties and other events over the years.

Community groups who utilize Morgan Park were quick to offer support, including the Gold Coast Cruisers, with a $4,000 donation, because they hold their car show in the park every June.

The total cost for the reconstruction is $81,450, though the final cost to the city is only $7,377. Insurance covers $68,050 and the city received $5,123 in donations. The mayor also said that instead of reconstructing the original 16 incandescent lights, he requested that the electrician install upgrades of 16 LED lights with dimming and timing features.

The first donations actually came from two children from New Hampshire who were in town visiting their grandmother, Carol Kasajanski. The mayor says that as he was in the park assessing the damage, the kids asked what they could do to help. They collected $25 to go toward the rebuilding, because they love the park so much. Mayor Suozzi says the city will be issuing them citations for their generosity.

Plans for upgrading the amenities in the park are also in the works.

According to Mayor Suozzi, “The city has been putting capital monies into rehabilitating all of our parks every year.  At Morgan Memorial Park, the bathrooms, the paths, the steps and the beach pavilions are all slated for repairs beginning with the lower bathroom.  To date the parking field has been repaved with lights added, staircases by the concert stage were repaired and hand rails added, dozens of trees have been replanted and dead and damaged trees removed.” He added that local architect Jim O’Grady has been examining the physical structures to guide the city with design and cost estimates.

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m., followed by music from Ian Petillo and the Legacy Jazz Band.