Save the Nelson Park Pavilion

This is a first in a long time! I’m writing on a weekday evening. This is my second week on day shift, and I’m starting to adjust. Last week, I couldn’t stay awake past 7:30 pm. I was so used to coming home late in the evening, unwinding for an hour or so, and then falling asleep. Well, tonight I’m still awake and have something to say.

You’ve probably heard the news about the Decatur Park District giving the news of the possible demolition of the large pavilion in Nelson Park. It’s the one that overlook the Devon Amphitheater. It’s nearly 100 years old, and I believe was built as part of the WPA during the Great Depression.

The roof is in need of replacement. It’s constructed of tiles and concrete, and it will be very expensive to replace, like $1.7 million dollars expensive!

It seems like every week we hear of another historic building in Decatur on the demo list. It’s getting old. As usual, many residents are not pleased with the idea of tearing down the pavilion. However, unlike many of the other structures that really didn’t have a shot at being saved, I think this one can and should be.

I drove by the pavilion this past weekend and noticed that a large chain-link fence had been erected around it. The park district says that the building is unsafe due to falling roof tiles. I can see why. It doesn’t look like the roof has had any attention since the 1930s. I don’t know if that’s true, but the roof sure looks sad.

We can add to the long list of buildings that Decatur’s government bodies didn’t maintain over the years. The same can be said of many of our schools. The can is always being kicked down the road for future generations to deal with.

I won’t get into all that, because we all know how that story goes. Instead, I want to add my name to the list of those who want the pavilion saved.

I noticed something about the pavilion when I took a photograph of it overlooking the Devon Amphitheater. Wow! It looks so good on that hill. I never really noticed. That is a gorgeous building, and it looks right at home with the amphitheater. What a shame it would be to not have it there. It absolutely should remain there.

I don’t think we should save every building just because it’s old or because it has sentimental value. I can become passionate about almost anything. That’s my nature, but the pavilion truly is an historic structure.

I don’t think it should stand there as a memorial to the past just so we can look at it. I think it should become an important part of the amphitheater and all the good it’s bringing to the city. I mean, it’s right there on top of the hill overlooking the stage. Why not include it in the events at the Devon?

Maybe have food there during events. Maybe sell cheap seats or exclusive seats. I don’t know.

Let’s kick some ideas around and see what we can come up with. It’s a beautiful building that is part of our city’s history. I’d like to see it be part of our future, and I think it can and should be. The Devon is becoming a major success story. Write the pavilion into that success story. Don’t let it become another Carnegie Library that future generations of Decatur will wonder why on earth we tore it down.

Well, that’s my two cents.

You may also like...