- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Several years after donations started coming in, construction began this week on the Highland Park Arboretum pavilion.

“We’re really glad we’re able to resume,” Ron Seymour tells the Hastings Tribune (https://bit.ly/23lzRLF ). Seymour is head of the arboretum committee. “It’s been a long time coming. We, and a lot of other people, have needed to be patient about the process. We’re really glad we have something going up, that people can really see the progress.”

Fundraising began five years ago with a $25,000 donation from Five Points Bank of Hastings. But, since then, there have been snags in the construction schedule.

In the meantime, hundreds of other donations came in, including funding from the Hastings Community Foundation and Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We’ve had people donate for several years,” said Franc E. Wagner, arboretum committee secretary. “We’ve just had numerous setbacks that have kept us from making this a reality. But it’s finally going to be so.”

The pavilion is being constructed south of the Highland Park Fire Station after the original site, which was further west and much closer to Burlington Avenue and the Hastings Museum parking lot, was deemed to be too close to cemetery monuments.

Central Community College-Hastings construction students are building the pavilion. In turn, the arboretum group will provide the college with $15,000 in scholarships.

“That is actually the only way we could afford this,” Wagner said.

CCC students are scheduled to be done erecting the structure in two weeks. Then crews from Kully Pipe and Steel can install metal railings and large iron panels.

Todd Brown and Cody Carson Brown of Hastings architecture firm Cicada Dwellings designed the 15-by-30-foot Victorian-porch style pavilion.

“You know people like to hang out on porches, which is what we’re hoping people will do here,” Seymour said.

He said the rough estimate for total construction costs, including benches inside the pavilion as well as landscaping, pavers and sidewalks, is $125,000.

Sidewalks leading 350 feet from the museum parking lot to the pavilion, plus those on the east side of the structure, will cost between $7,000 and $8,000.

“It adds up,” Seymour said. “But we want to have good access for people to come in.”

The structure itself is scheduled for completion by the middle of May.

“We want to make sure we have enough money to finish the construction,” Seymour said.

The arboretum committee will be asking for money to help with the installation of benches inside the building, plus landscaping and sidewalks during Give Hastings Day on April 28.

Construction of the pavilion is important, he said, to provide a focal point in the park and a place where people can gather.

“We’ve always envisioned this as a place to have small meetings, to have educational programs,” he said. “You know, you can do it out underneath a shade tree but there’s nothing like having a place where you can set your things up, having something that’s out of potential rain or direct sun and then have utilities available.”


Information from: Hastings Tribune, https://www.hastingstribune.com

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