Meadowbrook outlines another round of improvements

GILFORD — Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion program to add facilities and increase the capacity of the outdoor music venue.
Meadowbrook President R.J. Harding and land survey engineer Steven Smith outlined the key points of the project at the Planning Board meeting Monday evening. Meadowbrook expects to present a formal site plan application in January, Smith said.
As envisioned, the three-phase project will include improvements to parking areas, new concessions and amenities, improvements to the backstage area, as well as the addition of about 450 parking spaces. Harding said that once completed, Meadowbrook will have a capacity of 9,500 to 10,000 concertgoers. Currently the venue can accommodate 8,300 people. Harding estimated the cost of the entire project at about $5 million.
Smith said that Meadowbrook hopes to start work on Phase 1 of the project in the spring. That phase will involve improvements to the backstage area, where trucks load and unload equipment for the various performances. Dressing rooms for performers will also be constructed. In addition there will be expansion to the concession area and construction of a building for use by the Police Department and other public safety personnel.
Smith said Meadowbrook hopes to complete work on the first phase before the 2014 concert season starts in late spring. Work on others phases should take place after the concert season ends in the fall, with the balance of the work scheduled for the spring of 2015.
The second phase will involve regrading lawn parking areas. While Phase 3 will consist of building a two-story building that will include a VIP lounge. It also calls for improvements to the VIP lawn parking areas.
In addition to Planning Board approval, Smith said Meadowbrook will also need to apply for state permits.
Meadowbrook opened in 1996 with a temporary stage and room for about 4,500 concertgoers. The venue's permanent stage and covered pavilion were constructed in 2002 and added on to last year.
Over the years it has hosted concerts by a variety of popular music performers. It has also staged concerts by the Boston Pops Orchestra, as well as a live broadcast of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" on National Public Radio.

NOTES: The Planning Board voted to place six proposed zoning amendments on next March's local election ballot. One proposed change would require a 25-foot buffer along wetlands where virtually all construction and excavation would be prohibited. Two amendments seek to change the buildable area requirements regulations for excavation in steep terrain of new and existing lots. Another would amend the frontage requirements for certain lots. One amendment would rezone about 35 acres on the north side of Lake Shore Road — or Route 11 — from industrial to commercial. The land involved includes the Walmart Plaza and from there east to Lily Pond Road. An amendment to change the definition of a street will be scheduled for a second public hearing.