of the performing arts pavilion that will be constructed. Ground
breaking is scheduled for next spring, with the first concert
season beginning in 2004. (Click for larger image)
By CHRIS CONROY
— At long last, the Gerry Foundation announced its plans for the
land in and around the original Woodstock
On June 13, Gerry Foundation (GF) officials presented
a master plan for development to a joint meeting of the Town of
Bethel Planning and
Town Boards. Nearly 200 other people showed up to get a look at
what was in store for Bethel’s
most famous piece of property.
“Our goal is to interpret the Woodstock
site and the land in a way that will last for years to come,” said
Jonathan Drapkin, GF Executive Director.
That interpretation will take place with help from
an acclaimed national team of architects, consultants and engineers.
Leading the way is world-renowned architect Richard Meier, who is
designing the first of the structures that will be built on the
GF property: the performing arts pavilion.
The outdoor pavilion will seat
roughly 3,500 spectators under the glass, steel and wood “floating”
covering while providing an additional 14,000 lawn seats. The covering
will only touch the ground in six places, all on the outside edges,
providing a mostly unobstructed view of not only the stage, but
of the surrounding fields and forests. It will be built on the former
Gabriel Farm, adjacent to the original concert site.
Parking and access routes to the site will undergo
some distinct changes. The existing Hurd Road, off of 17B, will
still be the main access route to the site, but will eventually
be supplemented by what GF maps call “New Hurd Road,” which begins
roughly 1/8 of a mile east of the current road. Parking lots will
be improved from the grass fields they are now, but Drapkin assured
the boards that they will not be unpleasing to the eye.
of the outside view of the pavilion. It is designed to blend
with the environment and allow near unobstructed views of both
the stage and surrounding scenery. (Click for larger image)
Over the next 11 years, GF plans to continue developing
the site. The master plan calls for the eventual construction of
a “village” area around a man-made reflecting pool. The village
will contain themed shops, an interactive music museum, secondary
performance hall, exhibition gallery and visitor’s center. A performing
arts school and a 250-300 room conference center/inn are also included
in the long-range plans. The original site will remain largely untouched
except for the installation of a permanent stage to facilitate outdoor
concert venues such as the Day in the Garden concerts of 1998 and
Following the presentation of GF’s State Environmental
Quality Review (SEQR) form, the boards agreed that there would be
some very significant impacts to the local environment due to the
performing arts center. “The impact on transportation systems is
probably the number one impact,” said Tom Shepstone, Bethel’s
planning consultant. An increase in traffic could affect the local
air quality and noise levels, the SEQR form disclosed.
Issues such as traffic, new road construction,
and impact on neighbors will be fully addressed in the next step
in the process, the Environmental Impact Statement.
A public scooping session on issues that will be
investigated by the Environmental Impact Statement will take place
at the White Lake Fire House on July 10 at