5/24/2011

People were not always kind to our park.


The Pavilion is by far the gem of Ault Park. Around this architectural jewel all things revolve. I would almost go as far to say it is the heart and soul of the park, but that distinction goes to those who made the pavilion a reality and those who, many years later, saved the pavilion and the park for that matter, from becoming a city tragedy.

The Pavilion, dedicated in 1930, is a grand place. From its upper balcony visitors can take in a 360 degree view of the city, tree covered hillsides as well as the Observatory. Over time, Ault Park and her lovely pavilion took a dramatic turn for the worse.

During the 1960s, the Pavilion fell into disrepair and by the 1970s the condition of the Pavilion was dismal. Unsafe for use, the area was blocked off with fencing. The cascade area of the fountain was deteriorating. What is now a beautiful sight was just a dry, crumbling eye-soar.
As the park began to slide into disrepair, unwanted elements moved in. Biker gangs, teenagers with little to do but smoke, drink and hang out and those who held little respect for the park and its surrounding neighborhood made the park their hang out.

Loud music, trash, racing cars and down right dangerous characters made the park the last place a family would want to come and spend the day.

Fortunately, this activity ticked off the wrong people who banded together with friends and neighborhood councils to work with the city and parks department to turn the tide and retake the park for those who saw its value; for those who understood that a park is to be cared for and respected and made safe, inviting and peaceful for all- not a place to fear.

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