2011-02-17 / Editorial

Collapse of Ft. Getty pavillion a blessing


Nostalgia aside, the collapse of the Lt. Col. John C. Rembijas memorial pavilion at Ft. Getty is a blessing in disguise.

The Feb. 2 storm was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and after numerous January blizzards, the decrepit pavilion folded under the weight of the snow and ice.

The collapse probably came as a surprise to some, and as inevitable to others. Less than a month before the undoing of the pavilion, the Town Council addressed the structure’s roof damages at its Jan. 18 meeting. Town Engineer Mike Gray said, “[Town Building Official Fred Brown] goes to the pavilion after every storm to see if it’s still standing.”

Although renovating the old pavilion seems like it would have been the cheaper solution, building a brand new structure is actually much less expensive. At the Jan. 18 meeting, the rough figure thrown out was $60,000 for truss repairs and to re-sheath and re-shingle the roof. The cost of the new pavilion will be a little less; it will cost the town $0.

Because the pavilion is fully insured, if the town was to build a replica of the old structure, insurance would cover everything. The town might even go further; with the $60,000 that it planned to spend on bringing the pavilion back to life, it can now spend to make a bigger and better building for the community to gather.

That’s because insurance won’t cover upgrades. Although, with approximately $300,000 in the reserve fund for Ft. Getty, the town can spend a fraction of the money it was going to use for renovations on improvements such as windows to bring in natural light, or restrooms that aren’t a football field away. Although it might not be exactly the same place that your parents held their wedding reception, it could be somewhere that your kids can be proud to spend theirs.

Although the pavilion likely will not be ready this spring, the town might only lose around $10,000 from rentals, but Town Administrator Bruce Keiser mentioned that the town is seriously taking into consideration the erection of a banquet-style tent to get through this season.

When it’s all said and done, the spring of 2012 should have a new pavilion standing at Ft. Getty, which might just make these harsh winter storms worthwhile.

– Tim Riel

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