WILMINGTON — A memorial park gazebo and issues surrounding it took center stage at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting.
Councilmember Nick Eveland, along with members of the community, expressed concerns about a gazebo — located at Galvin Park on East Birdsall Street across from the library — possibly being torn down.
“The gazebo is a concern from several standpoints,” said Eveland. “Number one — it was a memorial to, actually, some good friends of mine.”
The dedication was to locals who died in a single-engine plane crash in 1989 — Tim Kroeger of Wilmington and Doug Keethler of Clarksville. A third man — Jeffrey Francis of Delhi Township — also died in the crash near the Clinton County Airport.
“I think we should be able to save it if possible but there’s a corollary that goes along with that,” said Eveland. “The gazebo is being used now by transients, indigents, vagrants, and it’s being vandalized … it’s being abused in a number of different ways. That certainly doesn’t do much for the memory of our colleagues, does it?”
This comes after a gazebo at Point Park was recently demolished due to both rotting wood and unwanted activities there.
Park Director Jermaine Isaac told the News Journal there are no immediate plans to demolish the Galvin Park gazebo. But they had entered discussions with the city about what they should do with it.
Eveland said he had a discussion with Sam Stratman, the Wilmington Park Board President, about the gazebo.
“I think the park board’s biggest concern was the exceptional amount of maintenance it takes to maintain it,” Eveland advised.
Mayor John Stanforth is concerned abut the gazebo’s structural integrity.
“When you bury triad posts in the ground, they’re going to rot off,” said Stanforth. “It’s just a question of when.” He added that the deterioration of the Galvin Park gazebo wasn’t as bad as the Point Park one.
Bob Baylor, representing the community group Friends of Galvin Park, spoke about wanting to keep the gazebo up.
“The only thing we would like to add … (we) understand where the mayor was getting at about maintenance concerns, but we want to try and make our parks look as inviting as possible,” said Baylor. “And don’t let the fact that some people are abusing it, damaging it, distract from the fact the gazebo wasn’t constructed for that. It was constructed for neighbors to come in, be able to sit in that park, and really enjoy the beauty of that park.”
Eveland, chair of the City Services Committee, told council they were going to start meeting every two weeks to discuss ways of fixing issues surrounding the gazebo.
He plans on inviting Police Chief Ron Cravens, representatives from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office and Wilmington Law Director’s office to talk about vagrancy ordinances and how they apply to the gazebo.
“This is the fact-finding part of it,” said Eveland.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574