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Expansion plan would bring Meadowbrook seating to 10,000

Union Leader Correspondent

December 18. 2013 9:06PM
The owners of the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook are proposing a $5 million expansion. (UNION LEADER FILE)

GILFORD — The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook representatives brought a preliminary plan to the planning board this week for a $5 million expansion over the next two years.

The expansion would include more seating, more parking and more room for concessions. It would also substantially improve the viewing experience for people who favor the lawn seating behind the main pavilion, said Steven J. Smith of Steven J. Smith and Associates, a local engineering firm.

“We will be regrading and redoing the lawn area, so whoever is in the lawn seating will have a better of view of the stage,” said Smith, who presented the plan to the planning board this week with Meadowbrook owner R.J. Harding at his side.

The presentation was a preliminary concept plan that Harding has been considering, but has not formalized yet, Smith said. Harding could not be reached for comment.

No dates were set for further consideration by town officials, said town Planning and Land Use Director John Ayer.“I think they were just bouncing some thoughts off of us to see if we had any concerns about any of it,” Ayer said.

“We’re talking about basic improvements to the site in 2014-2015,” Smith said.

The plan would add seating to the pavilion, which currently has 8,300 seats but is being enlarged to seat between 9,500 and 10,000, Smith said.

The plan also includes an expansion of the pavilion’s midway, the area between the stage and the concert gates with vendors and concession stands.

Also included is an increase of about 440 parking spaces, Smith said.

Besides changes to the lawn seating, which accommodates hundreds of concertgoers, there will be several improvements for VIPs. VIP parking would be improved, as would the VIP lounge area next to the pavilion.

A dressing room for the bands will be added, and one of the pavilion’s loading docks that wasn’t functioning properly will be repaired or replaced, Ayer said.

Ayer said the board did express some issues to Harding and Smith. There has been concern around town about the lack of a “drop-off” point near the stage for handicapped people, he said. There were also some traffic concerns expressed, he said.

“There were no major issues, just passed on some concerns,” Ayer said.

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