By the end of this fall, downtown Brighton should have a beautiful, new bandstand and amphitheater.

The Downtown Development Authority on Tuesday approved a modified plan to implement the first phase of the Mill Pond Master Plan. Completion of the entire plan could take several years and cost $2-3 million. Due to the great expense, DDA chairman Bob Herbst says the project will have to be undertaken in phases. City officials have felt for some time that the Mill Pond - considered the “jewel” of Brighton’s downtown — needs a major facelift. Goose droppings on the sidewalks and grass, shoreline erosion and a 22-year-old gazebo that is little more than four posts and a roof are just a few of the areas that need serious attention.

The DDA Board this week approved Phase 1-A of the Master Plan, which, in part, will involve removal of the shelter and its replacement with a bandshell. The shelter had been installed in 1995 to replace a traditional gazebo with cornices and other traditional decorative touches, but Piet Lindhout of Lindhout Associates, the DDA’s architect, says it posed an open invitation to vandals who regularly caused damage and painted graffiti. The simple, form-follows-function design of the shelter which replaced it left little to vandalize, but it was thought of as unattractive and a little too basic. Its replacement, of contemporary design, is considered much more in tune with Brighton’s successful and eclectic downtown. The bandshell stage will be 1,300 square feet in size and will have a 750-square foot roof. The sides will be of stone and it will be partially glassed in to direct the sound. Lindhout says that with the current shelter, which is open on all sides, the sound goes outward in virtually all directions so that much of it is lost on the crowds who come to see the live band concerts and other events during the summer months. With the glass sides, Lindhout says, the sound will be directed at the audience, which is primarily lined on the grass along the banks of the Mill Pond and in the new amphitheater seating.

The other component of the initial phase of the Mill Pond Master Plan will involve replacement of the old amphitheater with a new one, which will be much more substantial. Except for a concrete sidewalk leading to the Veterans Memorial, the current amphitheater is little more than tiered wood seats and a packed dirt floor. The new amphitheater will, like the old one, be terraced, but will have concrete seats and backs, and the floor will be of stepped, colored concrete. The total project, including the bandshell and amphitheater, is expected to cost in the range of $700-$800,000. The DDA is on what Lindhout calls a “very aggressive” time schedule, with construction to start around mid-September and completion before the onset of winter. The only aspect that will remain undone is landscaping, which he says will be done next spring. (TT)