Descendants of Christopher Ellingsen, who was the architect who laid out Bingham Park in the early 1930’s, have stepped forward to help carry on that legacy, by offering to help maintain the bandstand.

HAWLEY - Descendants of Christopher Ellingsen, who was the architect who laid out Bingham Park in the early 1930’s, have stepped forward to help carry on that legacy, by offering to help maintain the bandstand.

Ellingsen also designed the bandstand, which was completed in 1932, as well as the former ball park grandstand and other structures. He was contracted through the Work Progress Administration (W.P.A.), a Depression-era program to put people back to work. He and his family lived on Sport Hill, just outside the borough, where his daughter June Strait still resides.

Michelle Rojas, a Hawley councilwoman who is also related to Christopher Ellingsen, spoke to the Parks & Recreation Commission, July 25th, on behalf of Mary Ellingsen, his granddaughter. Mary is contributing $500.00, and has found a contractor to help with a list of items, which include pressure washing, sealing, replace rotted floor boards and painting. Mary would like to do some fund raising over Facebook, and hopes her gift will inspire others to help.

“It’s a beautiful bandstand, it just needs a little TLC,” she said.

Both Mary and Michelle offered to volunteer their time and labor. Michelle was asking if the project was agreeable with the Borough. Mary would like to oversee the project, and be cost effective.

James Shook, Parks & Rec Chairman, said he would match the $500 donation from the Community Dock Foundation, which he oversees. Rojas thanked him for the generous offer.

Mary would like to get the most important work started right away.

Mayor Kevin Hawk said that the roof was replaced a few years ago. Parks & Rec member Elaine Herzog stated that the bandstand has not received the routine maintenance it needs. Member Joseph Faubel said to be sure the contractor is properly insured.

P.J.Dougherty, a construction worker who is on the Parks & Rec board, advised that the paint on the bandstand should be tested for lead, to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. Certain procedures are needed to collect the paint chips. He offered to have the test done.

The contractor also needs to schedule his work around planned activities in the bandstand area.
Bingham Park was put together after the land was donated to the borough in 1929. The northern half of the park, which had been a canal basin, had been in use for a ball field, since 1903.