Jon Becker for the Daily News – Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017
A pop-up downpour did little to dampen the enthusiasm surrounding Monday evening’s groundbreaking ceremony for a $728,500 multipurpose facility at Auburn City Park.
With dozens of onlookers huddled under a tent to avoid a driving rain that hit the park just as the event officially got underway, dignitaries including State Rep. Gary Glenn, Auburn Mayor Lee Kilbourn and Auburn DDA Director Steven VanTol each gave remarks highlighting the significance of building a new pavilion that has been a dream of the city’s leaders for a long time.
The project’s contractor, Midland-based Moltus Building Group, also had representatives on hand. Justin Lipscomb, company principal, opened the program.
“We’re deeply honored that we’ve been selected to be the contractor for this project,” he said. “It’s going to be a beacon along US-10 to draw visitors and offer residents some of the finest amenities available.”
“Auburn has arrived,” said VanTol, who briefed the crowd on the DDA’s history, including its recent beautification efforts on Midland Street. “This project has been in the planning stages since 1995.”
A new and expanded farmer’s market is the main component of the new facility, but as Kilbourn and other leaders will readily tell you, as popular as field to market fresh produce offerings are now, the pavilion will be the site of so much more.
“We see basketball camps being held here in the summer and hockey camps in the winter,” Kilbourn said. “Concerts, arts and craft shows and other special events will be held here. This is designed to be a community gathering place for all residents of Bay and Midland counties. The vision has grown. ”
Kilbourn praised VanTol for working with a number of entities “to make this all happen. Steve worked hard and tirelessly. Our city commission (who were in attendance) deserves a great deal of credit as well.”
The new facility is expected to be built and open to the public by the end of this year. Glenn, for one, can hardly wait.
“I am proud to represent Williams Township and Auburn,” he said. “Imagine the addition to families and community celebrations this facility will offer. I know I’ll use it. It will attract people from the entire Great Lakes Bay Region.”
Glenn said the project’s construction is in fine hands.
“I learned today that Moltus in Latin means great,” he said. “They are known nationwide as a quality builder.”
Paul Wasek, who leads neighboring Williams Township as its supervisor, attended Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony to lend his support for the project.
“I think the pavilion is a great idea,” he said. “There is a lot of produce grown here. Farmers Markets offering field to table food is such a popular trend. The location (just off U.S. 10 on Nine Mile Road) makes it accessible to everyone.”
The pavilion is being designed to be the centerpiece of a park that also includes a fishing pond, walking trails, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and picnic shelters.