Burr Park pavilion expected to be ready in early spring

Charles Oliver/Daily Citizen-News

Officials said the pavilion under construction at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton should be finished by early spring.

The pavilion under construction at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton should be ready by the time the Off the Rails Music Series starts this summer, according to Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia President David Aft.

"We are always happy to invite the world to downtown Dalton, and this year we will have bathrooms," said Aft.

The Dalton City Council two years ago approved $300,000 for the construction of the pavilion, which will include restrooms, a concession stand with a small covered area and a "green room" for performers to change clothes in and get ready to perform. That was matched by $300,000 from the Community Foundation.

Five years ago, philanthropist Jeanne Burr provided a $1 million endowment to create the Burr Performing Arts Park and to fund programming for the park. The Community Foundation oversees Burr's bequest for the park.

Construction on the pavilion began last summer.

"We are doing a lot of work on the inside now," Aft said. "We expect delivery of the outside bricks this week, so people should begin to get an idea of what it will look like pretty soon. But everything is on track. We are on budget. No surprises there. We are getting the electricity and plumbing and the fixtures done. I expect it will be done by early spring, certainly by the time the summer concert series starts."

Aft said construction has taken longer than expected because of the ongoing labor shortage.

"We've got a wonderful team (Felker Construction of Chatsworth)," he said. "But the challenges that are affecting construction across the country have affected us as well. In our case, it's not so much supply chain issues that a lot people have. But a lot of the subcontractors have faced labor issues.

"For example, we would typically have several brickmasons on the scene and several support people. But during the majority of the construction we really only had brickmasons. We didn't have the support team, so the masons would have to get off the stand, go mix their own mortar, haul it up there, lay as many bricks as they could and then do that all over. But the people we have had have done a great job."

Aft said having a dressing room for performers will be a big change.

"It's not huge or fancy, but it is a place where the performers can do a little bit of preparation before they go on stage," he said. "We have not had that before. Over the past couple of years, most of the musical acts we've had, should they need a green room, have used the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce building across the street. The chamber has been wonderful, and we appreciate their help. But we really needed a long-term solution that didn't rely on asking groups around town, 'Hey, can we use your bathroom?' or 'Hey, can we park some rock musicians in your board room for two hours?'"

The Community Foundation, along with the Creative Arts Guild, the Dalton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Dalton Development Authority, present the concert series. The concerts are free, open to the public, and family friendly.

The organizers canceled the concerts in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The series returned in 2021 and was well attended.

"We are currently putting together the 2022 series," Aft said. "If anyone has any suggestions for musical acts or types of music they want to see, they can feel free to contact me."

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