by BETH ALTENA
The Rotary pavilion on the corner of Squire and Courtland streets has seen decades of visits with Santa, housed the $1,000 Event, Fiddle Fest, Resolution Walk, Start of Summer and Harvest Festival events and much more since Rockford Rotary built the structure in 1985. It has been a gathering place in the heart of Rockford and has always been offered free of charge. Now in its 26th year, the building needs some TLC and Rotary is asking for help to fund it.
“Since we built the pavilion, Rockford Rotary has given over $400,000 dollars back to the community,” said Rotary President Rick Schroder. As part of Rotary’s 2011 budget the service club voted to dedicate $12,000 toward renovations to the building, which should include painting the roof and exterior, installing radiant heat, retractable walls and windows and full-vision overhead doors. Rotary sent a mailing out to Rockford Chamber members as likely donors, but would welcome contributions from any business or individual. Expected costs of the project are about $20,000 and donations are tax deductible.
Schroder said those who want to picture what the improvements would look like to see the Comstock Park Vitale’s restaurant which recently put on an addition with full-vision doors and heat. “The pavilion gets a lot of use and it needs a lot of work,” Shroeder said. He noted that the City of Rockford approached Rotary with suggestions that would help the landmark structure see more year-round use.
The timeline for the project is to have the work done and the building ready for use in June prior to the Start of Summer celebration. Rotary contributes financially to many local good works, such as D.A.R.E. and Shop with a Cop. The club is also responsible for Rotary Park off Fremont Street, donated the public restrooms at the Welcome Center, and maintains the Little Red Schoolhouse on Ten MIle Road. Rockford Rotary meets each Tuesday at noon at the Community Cabin. An organization of business professionals, Rotary welcomes visitors. Those wishing to find out more about the pavilion project or about Rotary may visit online at rockfordmirotary.com.