Today Mayor Tom Henry and Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll, along with neighborhood advocates and community leaders, dedicated the new David Hefner Pavilion and celebrated the completion of the $1.8 million Franklin School Park project.
“The Franklin School Park project has been an excellent partnership between the nearby neighborhoods and our team at the Parks & Recreation Department,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m encouraged to see the excitement from residents as they enjoy this new community asset. The City continues to be committed to collaborating with neighborhood associations to provide unique quality of life amenities to enjoy.”
The William J. and Bonnie L. Hefner Foundation donated $300,000 toward the cost of renovating the pavilion named after their late son, David Hefner.
“We were thrilled when the Hefner Foundation approached with assistance to make the pavilion a reality,” said Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll. “We were told that Mr. and Mrs. Hefner created the foundation to support organizations and activities that benefit and improve the quality of life in the community. The Hefner family thought the pavilion would be a great way to help support the neighborhood as well as to honor the memory of their son, David, since he attended school at Franklin.”
The pavilion, part of the second phase of development, was the former Franklin School garage. It was converted into a rentable, year-round pavilion available to the neighborhood and other groups. A small office for the FWPD was also included in the floor plan, to provide a place for officers to stop for a break and take care of paperwork.
The architecture of the pavilion was designed to complement the entry arches, which were maintained and restored from Franklin School, and still in their original locations. The pavilion has transparent garage doors which can be thrown open on warm days, expanding the space outside onto a large event plaza. The plaza will be able to accommodate a variety of events, including farmers’ markets, neighborhood fairs and concerts, but also includes seating areas and more intimate spaces with lush plantings. Solar voltaic panels mounted on the roof of the pavilion will help reduce the cost of electricity. A small parking lot has been installed to serve the pavilion, as well. Phase 1 included a splash pad and new sidewalks.
Reservations for the pavilion will be accepted beginning December 18th at 8 am online at www.fortwayneparks.org or by visiting the Parks & Recreation office at 705 East State Blvd. The first reservation date available is January 1, 2018.