The sound of a check being cut was music to the ears of Jim Thorpe officials Monday as they accepted a $75,000 state grant to build a new band shell and bathrooms at Memorial Park on the borough's east side.
The new buildings will replace ones that council voted in January to demolish to make way for new offices.
The band shell and bathrooms will be at Memorial Park at 10th and Fern streets, on what is now an empty lot near Jim Thorpe Area High School. They will be close to where the original band shell stood.
''It's a very important community project here in Jim Thorpe,'' he said. ''It's a park that is utilized very heavily, not just by people from Jim Thorpe, but from all over the county.''
The band shell and bathrooms will be a stone's throw from Memorial Park Hall, where the administrative offices were housed for decades until moving, along with the Police Department, to a rental building on North street several years ago.
The Police Department had been housed on the other side of town in the old YMCA building on Broadway.
A new office building is needed because the owner of the North Street building wants the site vacated to use it for other purposes.
Whether to build or rent elsewhere is still undecided. The proposal to build new offices died in early summer when council failed to approve a $430,000 financing package for the project.
Construction on the band shell and bathrooms is expected to be completed by midsummer, Councilman Justin Yaich said.
Councilman Jeremy Melber said engineers figure the band shell and bathrooms can be built for about $75,000.
"The bandstand was always a landmark in Memorial Park," he said. "It was always the site of the musical entertainment for the Fourth of July celebration, and it also housed the only public restrooms the park had."
However, the band shell had "become so deteriorated that all we could do was tear it down," he said.
Yaich said bringing the band shell up to current government safety standards would cost at least as much as building a new one.
"When you are spending state money or any tax dollars, you have to bring everything into state compliance with the building code," he said. "The amount of money we would have spent renovating that band shell and making it [Americans with Disabilities Act]-accessible, along with all the other building codes, would have amounted to what we would spend on a new facility. Now you're going to have something brand-new that's going to last 80 years or longer."
Melber said council wants to restore the park to its former glory.
"This is one of the last great parks in Jim Thorpe," he said. "A lot of people bring their kids here to play, and we want to have a bathroom facility for them."
He also said council was planning to spend $20,000 in grant money on new rides for the park.
"We're really trying to build the park back up to what it used to be," he said.
Memorial Hall is a large social venue the borough rents for wedding receptions, bingo and festivals. The borough's annual Stay at Home Festival on Fourth of July weekend is held there.
The downstairs of the building contains a skating rink popular with area youths.