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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

SEE THAT WHITE board? That’s where the new sign for the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will stand at the corner of Hurd Road and Route 17B.

Say Hello to the Bethel
Woods Center for the Arts

By Dan Hust
BETHEL — July 1, 2003 – According to the Gerry Foundation, the Bethel Zoning Board of Appeals was scheduled to hear a variance request last night about the sign the foundation wants to erect for its performing arts center.
The sign, if approved, will also display the long-awaited name of the facility: the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
The 16’-wide by 8’-high sign (sitting on a base that is 3’ wide, 24’long and 2’ high) will soon appear at the corner of Hurd Road and Route 17B, right where the “Day in the Garden” and Woodstock Emporium signs have been erected.
“We are pleased to have a name that combines both the historic and geographic features of the site, while looking into the future,” said owner Alan Gerry, who is overseeing the $46 million project.
In July 2001, the Sullivan County Democrat ran a contest to name the 17,500-seat performing arts center and related facilities to be located next to the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival site at the corner of Hurd and West Shore roads in Bethel.
Fittingly, former Town of Bethel resident Elizabeth “Bette” Bosch’s suggestion of “Bethel/Woods Performing Arts Center” evidently inspired Gerry Foundation officials, although designer Tom Trapp of Bear Brook Design in Washingtonville would only say that the name was selected from hundreds of possibilities.
Bosch, though, was overwhelmed.
“I must have had 20 names on a piece of paper,” she recalled, adding that her husband Bill had been dubious of her suggestion.
“Now he’ll have to eat his words!” she remarked.
The Bosches, now of Lady Lake, Florida, used to live in Middletown, where Bette was an officer with Orange County Trust and Bill was the superintendent of the Middletown postal facility.
They maintained a home in Fremont Center and later in the Town of Bethel, not far from their relatives in Hankins, Jeffersonville, Youngsville and Swan Lake.
But it turned out that it was the forests, not Woodstock itself, that inspired Bette Bosch to come up with her name. And it stuck.
“It is such a name that resonates with charm,” she said. “The woods up there are beautiful.”
And now they’ll have new reason to enjoy it – thanks to two tickets to the first performance at the center, courtesy of the Democrat. Tentative plans reportedly call for a July 2005 opening date.
“I’m excited,” Bosch added. “We love so much of the place up there. We adore it!”

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