Marion gazebo bound for fishing future

Lifted off its foundation, and even though termites took a toll on the gazebo, city crews recognized its heritage over the past 30 years. ?It just didn?t seem like (razing the gazebo) was the best way of honoring our past,? said City Administrator Roger Holter. Patty Decker / Free Press

In keeping with the city of Marion?s recent tag line of ?Honoring the Past, Enjoying the Present, Building for the Future,? the gazebo in Central Park is being repurposed for storage or fishery activities at Luta Creek.

Roger Holter, city administrator, said as part of the restroom project at Central Park, crews encountered a problem, and an opportunity, regarding the old structure.

?In order to get the project going and achieve the timelines necessary to protect our community events with as little disruption as possible, utility construction began last week,? he said.

For quite some time, Holter added, the council has shared with city officials that Marion is a town respecting the past, enjoying the present and building for the future.

The initial plan, he said, was in razing the gazebo and replacing it with an entertainment pavilion and restroom.

Sentimental value

But rather than raze the gazebo, city crews recognized there were a lot of memories tied to the building ranging from preschool graduations and church activities to other events, Holter said.

Even though termite damage was discovered, the gazebo was built with two different types of materials ?untreated wood and cedar wood.

?Fortunately, the primary structure for the integrity of the building was constructed from cedar,? he said. ?We don?t have a problem with that. What has to be replaced is the non-treated material that was used.?

The termite damage is in the former bathroom about 18 inches up the back.

Holter said Hett Construction and EBH Engineering agreed this portion could be repurposed, and at a minor investment.

Repurpose and recycle

?We just adopted a recycling program,? said Mayor Todd Heitschmidt, ?and (the gazebo) is a repurposing program that follows directly in that line of thought.?

The long-term vision for the old gazebo is to repurpose it as a storage area for things like life vests and park supplies, Holter said.

?It can also complement the fisheries activities in Luta Creek (adjacent to the park) because the intent is to make a path from the hill (on the west side of the park) down to the waterfront,? he said.

?For the Chingawassa festival and other events like pancake feeds, the repurposed gazebo will be available for a serving location as well as having electrical services readily available in the area.?

The decision for this project was ?very last minute,? Holter added, but hopefully it is in line with the values the council has looked to its city staff for.

?We keep a bit of history around with redoing part of the roof, but have a usable facility,? he said. ?The concrete pads will be poured underneath it to be sure it?s stable.?

The untreated wood was mostly cut out and it is still holding together. The rest of the gazebo, Holter said, will be replaced once it?s on the pad.

?But, the main six pillars on it were a pleasant surprise because there were no termites in those posts,? he said.

Hett Construction poured the pad for the storage portion and the surrounding access to the stage portion of the gazebo.

The city?s public works department, Holter added, performed the attachment process in order to reduce expenses.

MAC fundraising

The cost for these improvements was $105,000 and came from private donations, said Heitschmidt, who along with being the mayor is also president of MAC, which spearheaded the fundraising drive.

MAC met its monetary goal at the end of 2014 with the help of individuals, businesses and groups.

?Our goal is to start construction in the spring and be completed by Chingawassa Days the first weekend in June 2015,? Heitschmidt said. ?We have been greatly blessed with pledges and donations for this project.?

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