Gordon Park Pavilion to be dedicated on February 16th

by Jay Kirk The Gordon Park Pavilion is nearing completion and will be dedicated at an Open House on Saturday, February 16, at 1 pm. The Riverwest community is invited to see the new facility, which was built for their use. Larry Kenny, associate director of programs for Milwaukee County Parks, says the Parks System is counting on the Riverwest Community to take ownership of the Pavilion and the park and take advantage of the new opportunities it offers. Originally Gordon Park was oriented toward the Milwaukee River with its back to the community. When it was built, and for may years, it served the community well by allowing access to the river in the summer and providing opportunities for the community to cool off and play in the river’s waters. The Parks System, after consultation with the community, found that the park would better serve the community by changing its orientation so that it was more welcoming to the community. To do this, they planned and built a pavilion. The pavilion contains two meeting rooms that may be rented by the community. A large room will provide space for meetings up to 125 people and has a stage that faces either into the meeting room or outside for summer presentations. A second room, with a 20-person capacity, can be used for smaller meetings. Community members may rent either room with the cost varying Monday through Thursday depending on its purpose. Private gatherings will pay full price and community meetings will be half price. Approximate pricing for similar rentals at other pavilions were about $190 for six hours for any weekend use, and half that price during the week for community groups. The smaller room would have cost $40 for two hours last year. The pavilion has a full kitchen including refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher and will be air-conditioned. There will be restrooms for men and women that may be accessed from either inside or outside. Also, there will be a unisex restroom that will be compliant with the rules set down by the Americans with Disabilities Act. An office for a full time Milwaukee County staff member and an office/storage room for community groups with significant ongoing programming such as those associated with the Milwaukee Public School System, the YMCA, etc. is also housed in the facility. A new parking lot holds 45 vehicles. Adjacent to the building is a new, small splash pad, which will contain fountains and sprays that may be activated by the children who are playing there. There are swings, slides, and climbing toys as well, and the playground also features educational boards from which one can learn Braille characters and science facts. The park will have a soccer field that is suitable for youth soccer. Long term plans include linking the park to the Riverwalk so one could walk or bike from Gordon Park all the way to downtown without ever having to cross a street.
by Jay Kirk