Franklin Gazebo Opening Celebrated With Speeches, Music

By PJ Parker

The long-awaited Franklin Gazebo was celebrated Sept. 16 on the Franklin green amid the sounds of Latin jazz to mark its debut.

The gazebo is located at the municipal complex on DeMott Lane.

The product of the Franklin Township Cultural Arts Council, the gazebo will be home to a wide variety of events, including music/concert series, weddings, Fourth of July and Memorial Day celebrations, school performances and holiday festivities.

The gazebo became a reality with the concept moved forward by The Gazebo Fund’s founding members, John T. Felix, chair FTCAC; Bill Grippo, fundraising chair, and Michael Steinbruck, special projects FTCAC.

In accordance with the FTCAC mission that this gazebo “truly reflect Franklin Township,” its octagonal design was chosen to honor the eight villages that comprise Franklin Township, with each column representing one of the eight.

The gazebo’s cupola design was created to honor the township’s Dutch heritage. Benches line the perimeter of the open interior to invite relaxation and reflection, all set back from the roadway in a vast expanse of grass and trees.

“The idea began for me as I wandered the grounds here and thought, there is really no place in Franklin to sit and enjoy a summer concert, and the wheels started turning,” Grippo said.

“The first challenge was to decide on a location, and then to get support to make it happen,” he said.

“I spoke to state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen and Mayor Phil Kramer, who said he knew of a Franklin resident wanting to contribute in some way to the betterment of our community,” Grippo said. “I met with Vimal Sodhani of the Sodhani Foundation, who with his generous donation of $15,000, the vision of an arts gazebo in Franklin became possible.”

“This monument will bring our community together by establishing a cultural haven of arts and upholding a sacred vision of friendship,” Sodhani said. “This is a place where the mind becomes still and peaceful, where spirituality helps uplift individuals, families and society, where individual values are preserved and protected.”

“My motivation to support this project was that the Franklin Township gazebo will be the symbol to promote peace and harmony,” he said.

The FTCAC receives no municipal funding, according to the event brochure. The gazebo project is made possible solely by community events and private donations.

Phase II of the gazebo fundraising effort is in place now, to include any remaining electrical and lighting upgrades and technology support.

For more information or to donate, contact: FranklinCAC@gmail.com.



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