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COUNTYWIDE FOCUS : OJAI : Council to Consider Bandstand Proposal

An Ojai resident’s dream of building a bandstand in Libbey Park may edge closer to fulfillment Tuesday if the City Council endorses a plan to replace an existing gazebo with the new platform.

Sara Beeby began lobbying for permission to build the Ojai bandstand four years ago after attending outdoor concerts in Chatham, Mass., during a summer vacation.

In April, the Ojai council narrowly approved a plan to build the 593-square-foot bandstand near a barranca in the downtown park. Councilman James Loebl voted against the bandstand, saying the park was losing its green space to man-made structures.

The issue returned to the council in October after two arborists concluded that a large oak tree at the barranca site had trunk damage and rot that could cause it to topple on the planned bandstand.

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As a result, council members agreed to put the bandstand on the site of the existing gazebo if it would not increase the overall height of the structure.

However, the gazebo’s location is about 15 inches higher than the barranca location. And city staff have concluded that the area cannot be graded 15 inches because of tree roots.

Beeby opposes lowering the height of the 16-foot 6-inch bandstand because of the costs involved with changing the design. The Ojai Band, which would perform in the bandstand, has already raised $4,268 in donations for the project and has obtained a pledge of $35,000 from Ojai’s Civic Association.

The total cost of the bandstand is expected to be $48,854.

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