The ribbon has been cut on a controversial pavilion that drummed up fierce debates for months in Bay City.
The soon-to-be covered pavilion in Wenonah Park is happening thanks to a million dollar donation from the Nickless Foundation, $1.7 million from the Downtown Development Authority and private funds.
Joanie Nickless-Tankersley is proud of the project.
“It means the future, a better future, a bright future and we’re delighted to be a part of it,” she said.
The pavilion brings with it a bigger concession stand, more restrooms for the park that will be open year round and 5,000 square feet of shade for people to enjoy concerts and events. There will also be a public ice rink.
“It’s going to be synthetic ice. So, we’re going to have fun with that, which means if we want to skate year-round we can do so if we want to,” said Mike Bacigalupo, project manager.
City officials said the pavilion is just another piece of the puzzle improving the downtown area.
“This is just another great addition to bringing people down to the river, down to the water. Because that’s where people want to be. So, this is a great piece,” City Manager Dana Muscott said.
However, not everyone is pleased with the project. One lone protester showed up on Friday to say the project blocks the view of the river from Center Avenue. He disagrees with the way the pavilion was funded, but project coordinators believe people will love the final project.
“We’re making the city better and we’re making the city a destination place,” Bacigalupo said.
The pavilion is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month and the first event will be held June 2.
The pavilion project was initially proposed as a 10,000-square foot structure in late 2015. Its size was cut in half after people expressed concerns about the amount of green space it would take up in the downtown park.
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