WALLINGFORD — After months of planning, work is underway to completely refurbish the gazebo that sits in Johanna Manfreda Fishbein Park on North Colony Road.
“It was in disrepair,” said Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. “It is in the open air and it takes a beating from the weather conditions. It’s an attractive site and we want to keep it in good repair.”
The gazebo was installed in 1986, and since then smaller repairs have been done on a regular basis, Dickinson said, but this is a complete repair.
“If we want people to use it, it has to be in good condition,” he said, adding that the gazebo is used for public celebrations such as the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. “It becomes the stage for these events,” he said.
Planning began on the project last year, culminating in the work now going on at the park.
The park is named for Johanna Fishbein, a community volunteer who died in 1997 at age 81. She served as chairperson of the committee that celebrated the town’s 325th birthday two years before her death and helped organize a community road race more than 40 years ago.
“The gazebo is an important facet of our downtown,” said Town Council member and state Rep. Craig Fishbien, Johanna Fishbein’s grandson. “It is a landmark, a beacon and a shelter. The sight of it is welcoming and comforting, just as my grandmother was. While she is still missed by myself and others, her memory lives on.
“I am quite happy to see that the gazebo is being rehabilitated to be enjoyed by many more for years to come,” he said, “thereby extending the memory of such an important person to our town.”