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.
Rockford Rotary Pavilion
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL This New Year’s Day morning, plan on joining hundreds of Fred Meijer White Pine Trail users as they step into 2011 for a brisk four-mile walk. Hosted by the Friends of the White Pine Trail, this popular New Year’s Day tradition will mark its 10th year. The annual Resolution Walk is not just for Friends members but rather is open to everyone of all ages along with their four-footed friends as well. Bring the whole family and join with the Friends as they celebrate the many Trail improvements of the past year. One accomplishment that stands out is the paving of the Trail between Cadillac and LeRoy to the south, a distance of 8.6 miles. Funding for the project came from the Fred Meijer Foundation and a Federal High Priority Transportation Enhancement Grant. This was another major milestone in the Friends’ goal to have the Trail entirely paved from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. Another achievement was the installation trailside of a beautiful new covered picnic table located south of Cedar Springs between Indian Lakes Road and 16 Mile Road. Funding for this table and one previously installed just south of Rockford was generously provided by donations from Wolverine World Wide. As in past years, weather will be no obstacle to the hearty outdoor enthusiasts who have yearly stepped off in fellowship with nature and one another. Participants are asked to assemble at the Rotary Pavilion in downtown Rockford prior to the 10:00 a.m. start of the leisurely, noncompetitive round-trip walk from Rockford north to 12 Mile Road and back. As usual the Friends, in the cozy confines of the heated Pavilion, will provide refreshments. Look forward to hot coffee and cocoa along with cookies. Also, for the third year in a row, “Coney Girl” Jennifer Idema will be on hand serving up great hot dogs and brats with all the trimmings—all provided compliments of the Friends (donations gratefully accepted). Plan on stepping into 2011 on the right foot in anticipation of better things ahead for Michigan.
The jolly old elf himself will be waving to crowds this Saturday, November 4 during the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s 67th annual Santa Parade beginning at 11 a.m. From noon to 2 p.m. visit Santa, enjoy free milk and cookies and participate in fun activities at the Rotary Pavilion located at the corner of Squire and Courtland streets. There will be free horse drawn trolley rides around town, caroling and a chance to enjoy Rockford in all its holiday splendor.
Hayrides, scarecrow, art kids events all three weekends “If the Colonel [Sanders] had our recipe he’d have been a General,” said Rotarian Rick Ehinger of the annual Rockford Rotary chicken BBQ dinner sale to be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The sale takes place at the Rotary Pavilion on the corner of Courtland and Squires streets beginning at noon on Friday, September 24. Friday kicks off the first of three weekends of Harvest Festival with returning entertainment, The Great Pumpkin at Garden Club Park, a beer tent at Grill One Eleven, a brand new urban camping event and more. Among the three weekends of activities will be an art show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive, each Saturday with working artists and art for sale. Throughout downtown there will be childrens activities, including face painting at Frenz and a pumpkin contest at Sweet Tooth. The urban camping event takes place off Main Street and will feature a local Air Stream camper with modifications, a Volkswagon camper and more. The self-contained units will be open for public inspection and may become an annual event. Jim Bodenner, owner of the Air Stream, said urban camping is a new idea and allows campers to an urban area to enjoy shopping, dining and other local ammenities. The Rotary BBQ dinner is the organization’s largest fundraiser. This year money raised from the $9 dinners will go toward improvements to the Rotary Pavilion (where the sale is held). In addition to sit-down dining, a drive-up service is offered for your convenience. See more Harvest Festival savings and events on pages 10 and 11 and watch next week’s Squire for more Harvest Festival news.