Andover receives renovation grants

Mindy Carls
MidAmerican Energy presented grants for renovation projects on Thursday, Aug. 19, in Andover. From left are Mike Mielke, village president; Ben Keith, electric operations manager, Iowa Quad Cities, MidAmerican Energy; Valli Putnam, renovation committee; Mike Carlson, Andover Historical Society president, and Ron Peterson, Andover Tourism Council chairman.

MidAmerican Energy presented two $2,500 grants to help fund renovation projects of two of Andover’s historic sites on Thursday, Aug. 19.

The grants will help with improvements to the 161-year-old bandstand in Andover Lake Park and to the Andover Historical Museum.

Ben Keith, MidAmerican’s manager of electric operations for Iowa QC, presented the grants to Mike Mielke, village president; Valli Putnam, renovation committee; Mike Carlson, Andover Historical Society president, and Ron Peterson, Andover Tourism Council chairman.

Goals for the bandstand are to improve its structure and appearance and to bring it into line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The $65,000 project includes repairing and painting all of the structural wooden members; installing a new ceiling and roof, as well as an epoxy floor; building a concrete performance platform in front (on the east side); installing new electric wiring and breakers and LED lighting; putting up pole lights at each end of the platform; and building a sidewalk around the entire structure, with a ramp in the back.

Volunteers have started the project.

At the Andover Historical Museum, the $45,000 renovation began with installing new windows last year. Upgrading the electrical system to 200 amps is underway. Additional work includes installing a new furnace and air conditioning system and insulating the attic.

The village’s first two-story school was built in 1860, with a bandstand just north of the school on the west side of the colony square. In the 1920s and 1930s, the square was developed into what is now Andover Lake Park. When the lake itself was dredged in the middle of the 10-acre park during the 1930s, the bandstand was moved to the east side of the lake.

People from miles around flocked to the park for picnics, swimming, fishing, baseball games, weekly movies and community church services during the summer months. Today, the bandstand is used throughout the year for festivals, concerts, weddings and Christmas events.

The Andover Historical Museum was built in 1861 as a private residence. It also served as a temporary haven for Swedish immigrants in the early settlement of Andover. After purchasing the building in 1967, the historical society members worked night and day to ready the building for its formal opening in 1968.

The Historical Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located across the street from the west side of the Andover Lake Park.