Minneapolis' Lake Harriet Band Shell is back to its old familiar blue.

As part of a yearlong renovation, workers have turned the band shell from a light brown color back to a grayish blue hue, similar to what covered the structures in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The band shell has also been reroofed with blue wood shingles and its windows have also been updated to bring air flow to the stage and add safety measures to prevent birds from running into the glass, said Francisca Pass, project designer for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Bathrooms have also been renovated in the pavilion so that they are accessible. Other renovations continue on surrounding buildings.

"The band shell area is iconic, and park visitors and neighborhood residents really care deeply about it," Pass said. "It means a lot to have it restored and looking great. We've heard from hundreds of people who are glad to have it repaired and delighted with how it looks."

More than 1,500 people had signed a petition to change the color as part of a renovation project to the band shell and nearby buildings.

There was no record of the original blue color, and park staff worked to match it as best they could, landing on a color called Bluestone.

Steve Brandt, a member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, started the petition and said he's glad to see the structures changed back to blue.

"I have run around Lake Harriet several thousand times in the last 47 years, so it's a familiar icon for me," said Brandt, a retired Star Tribune journalist. He said he's looking forward to seeing the blue building: "Sitting there on a June night with sun, wispy clouds floating across the horizon, a blue sky and a blue lake, and this iconic building housing wonderful musicians."

Secondary buildings, like the pavilion next to the concessions building and the building next to the boat launch, will also be repainted blue over the summer and reroofed in the fall, Pass said. Early estimates on the entire project came in at about $7 million.

The Park Board plans to commemorate the renovations at the beginning of the annual Music and Movies in the Parks kickoff event on Memorial Day weekend.

"We look forward to hosting events and gatherings that create wonderful memories for people at Lake Harriet for decades to come," Pass said.

The renovation was a welcome change for William Hedges, who stood near the band shell with his daughter visiting from out of town this week.

Hedges said he was 18 years old when he saw the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra perform at the Lake Harriet Band Shell on its opening day in May 1986 and it was "the moment of a lifetime." He has been returning frequently ever since.

He said he was happy to see it repainted to its old blue look, like he remembers it.

"It's vibrant. It catches your eye," Hedges said. "It's a beautiful blue shade. Reminds of the first time I was here in 1986."

His daughter, Hannah Hedges, said the building looks like it's from an art museum.

"I love how the building matches the lake and the sky," she said. "It's gorgeous."

Madison Roth is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.