Lancaster Gazebo’s a Keeper
LANCASTER -- For the new gazebo, the show will go on.
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 Monday to keep a gazebo constructed by Netflix on the town green. Earlier this year, the streaming company gifted Lancaster the gazebo, which is being used as a prop in an untitled series shot in the town.
“I watched the kids on Halloween and I watched the kids in the Christmas tree lighting and the most popular place was the gazebo,” said Selectman Walter Sendrowski.
Though selectmen said the majority of the feedback they received favored keeping the gazebo in the town green, members of the Historical Commission, including Chair Heather Lennon, strongly opposed the decision.
″(The town green) is a space if people came back to life from 100 years ago they’d still recognize it as that same place that they knew in the town,” she said.
Her commission recommended keeping the structure, but said it should be moved to another location in town as it blocks views of nearby historic buildings.
Opponents questioned how the gazebo would be maintained and said keeping it sets a dangerous precedent for town accepting gifts.
Lennon said she wanted a lengthier decision process including a formal public hearing regarding the location of the gazebo. Selectmen argued the public has had four months to give them feedback and most has been favorable to the gazebo’s current location.
Selectman Mark Grasso said historical preservation may be one consideration, but should not be the only.
“I have received more comments about this particular issue in my two and a half years on the board than anything else,” Grasso said. “If they are so overwhelmingly positive to this I’m not going to stand in the way.”
Where exactly the gazebo will be located on the town green when filming concludes after the end of the year was not decided at the Monday meeting.
Sendrowski favored moving the gazebo toward Main Street in the place of a Christmas tree maintained by the 4-H Club. In this scenario, the tree would need to be relocated. The tree is not expected to survive the move and would likely need to be replaced, Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco said.
Grasso also favored a more central location for the gazebo.
A 90-foot preservation area around Prescott Building limits what can be built in certain areas of the green unless the town seeks state permission, according to Pacheco. Currently, Lennon said about half the gazebo is in this zone, according to her measurements.
Pacheco said the gazebo is valued at $32,000. If requested, Netflix would pay to dismantle or move the structure, he said.
Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @ElizDobbins