More than 100 local families and community members gathered to enjoy hot dogs, ice cream and door prizes as a part of a celebration of the grand unveiling of a new pavilion at the Riverside Rotary Park in Juneau on Wednesday evening.
“We just love a night like this where we get to see families out here, playing on the playground, watching the ducks. This place has a lot of history and is dear to our hearts,” said Glacier Valley Rotary Club President Michelle Strickler.
The pavilion, which took several months to build, is the newest edition to a multiple-year-long master plan of building projects done by the Glacier Valley Rotary Club. Along with this new edition, the club had spent the last 40 years adding elements to the park such as a new playground, duck pond and a 9/11 memorial.
The structure gained its funding entirely through donations from events like the annual Duck Derby and raffles sales along with partnering with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Juneau Community Foundation and City and Borough of Juneau’s Parks Recreation Department for multiple years to create the funding to build the structure, Strickler said.
“This was something I didn’t think was going to happen for a really long time,” said Charlie Williams, the project coordinator of the pavilion and a Rotarian. “I just never would have thought that we would have got it together.”
Williams, along with other club members who have backgrounds in construction volunteered to help to build the structure in an effort to keep the cost down as low as the club could in order to bring the project to life.
“We did anything we could do that was helpful. When they were pouring concrete, we were on side with plastic sheets to keep the rain off the concrete,” Strickler said. “We’re just excited to see another element of the park — and there’s more to come.”
Children could be seen running from the playground to under the pavilion with blue tickets in their hands to see if they got the lucky number to win one of the many door prizes handed out at the event. Others could be seen running to — or from — the park mascot Freda the duck who made appearances throughout the celebration.
“I had a good time and so did my kids, It’s a cool thing what they’re doing — I know that we’re nice and full,” said Augustine Eshnaur, who is a postal worker at the Mendenhall Valley Post Office. Eshnaur brought his wife and children to the event to enjoy the atmosphere and eat their fill of hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches.
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