The town of Ferdinand is looking at the possibility of a new outdoor facility in one of its town parks and many folks aren’t too sure about its location.

Last night, the Ferdinand Town Council and the Ferdinand Park Board held a joint public hearing concerning the possibility of building an outdoor shelterhouse type facility for events such as concerts. The proposal dates all the way back to 2008, when it was first brought up by the park board. At the outset of the meeting, the council stated that nothing has been designed as of yet, saying that they wanted to gather input first before proceeding with that step.

More than 40 people from the public turned up at last night’s meeting to give their input on the issue. The main proposal to date has the new facility located on the northwest corner of Ferdinand’s 18th Street park and that was something that the majority of those in attendance last night were opposed to due to the potential for noise in a residential area. A few musicians, including students currently in the Forest Park High School marching band showed up and voiced their support, with one band member telling those in attendance that the noise level would be no different from when the band practices on weeknights during the fall, which no one to date has complained about.

All in all, Ferdinand Park Board President Scott Tretter was impressed with how last night’s meeting turned out. He says he was most impressed with the fact that people of all ages showed up for the meeting:

Tretter says now that the concerns of the public have been heard, he says there are still several things to be ironed out before any building project would be started:

Though there was disagreement over the location of the facility, the vast majority of those in attendance at last night’s meeting were not against having a shelterhouse built. Tretter says such a shelterhouse has a lot of benefits for the town over the long-term:

Another concern that was voiced during last night’s meeting was who would be paying the cost of such a building. The council and the park board assured those in attendance that no decisions had been made, though the town has been looking at grants for the project. The town council is currently looking at 2008 cost estimates, which pinned the cost of the project between 100 and 130 thousand dollars, which the council stated could be paid through grants. The council also stated that they have already received several calls from people interested in making private donations for such a facility. Former town manager Marc Stecyzk, who was also in attendance last night, stated that he believed that the shelterhouse could be built without using a single dollar of public tax money, thus averting a tax raise which a couple of people in attendance last night expressed their concerns about.

On a final note, the council stated that the proposed shelterhouse would be a 20 foot by 40 foot type structure and not anything like Lincoln Amphitheatre in Spencer County. Tretter stated that 2014 would be the perfect storm for the facility if it is going to be built and if it takes longer than that to get it started, it may not be worth building.