Come summer, new gazebo in Dalton will be available to public

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DALTON — Come summer, residents and visitors will have a new way to experience the town's outdoor concerts.

A public gazebo will provide a venue for various activities on the memorial lawn next to the W. Murray Crane Community House on Main Street once warmer weather arrives.

"I'm very excited about it," said Alison Peters, executive director of the Community Recreation Association, known as the CRA. "It's just beautiful. I think it's going to be a nice asset for the community."

Peters anticipates musicians will use the about 30-foot-wide gazebo, both at summer concerts and the town's seasonal outdoor public market.

The CRA's summer camp programs could also use the space. and it will be available to the public for things like prom and wedding photos, she said.

The gazebo and its railings are finished, but final landscaping and planting work, along with construction of a split-rail fence, will have to wait until spring.

The plantings will be built along the edge of the lawn to hide the parking lot from view.

"We used to have a lot of bushes back there, but they were really old and decrepit," Peters said. "So we tore those all out."

"We were hoping that we would have been able to do everything before it got too cold, but that didn't happen," she said. Work first began on the gazebo in early October. The project will ideally be finished about Memorial Day.

The gazebo has fully functional lighting and electricity, and will be equipped with Wi-Fi, she said.

For now, a Christmas tree occupies the gazebo, put up by town resident Darlene "Pokey" Hume. For years, Hume has put up a tree in town. The tree is donated by the Dalton Fire Department. She plans to continue putting up a tree in the gazebo around the holidays — as long as everyone likes it.

The CRA has already received many positive responses to the new gazebo, Peters said.

"We hear comments all the time," she said. "People really love it."

Funding for the gazebo came from the W. Murray Crane Trust. The trust, created in 1923, specifically handles costs associated with maintaining and upgrading the CRA and its property, including the lawn. "These projects happen, and it doesn't impact our operating budget at all," Peters said of the CRA.

The trustees made the decision to build the gazebo in conjunction with the CRA, Peters said.

"They decided that this was the right time to make an investment in the memorial [lawn]," Peters said.

The lawn features a marble memorial to W. Murray Crane, who set up the trust that established the CRA and its board of trustees.

The son of Zenas and Louise, W. Murray Crane served as governor of Massachusetts from 1900 to 1902, and was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1904. He was from Dalton.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@berkshireeagle.com, at @BE_pleboeuf on Twitter and 413-496-6247.


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