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Sunday May 24th, 2015 3:19AM

Legion, city celebrates restoration of century-old pavilion

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - One of Gainesville's best-kept secrets has had a face-lift.<br /> <br /> State and local officials, along with leaders of American Legion Post 7, cut the ribbon Saturday on the refurbished pavilion on Legion property at the end of Riverside Drive.<br /> <br /> The pavilion, built in 1900, originally was part of Chattahoochee Park. Georgia Power purchased the property - along with the pavilion - in 1923 for use by its employees. The American Legion purchased the property at the end of Riverside Drive in the late 1950s and the pavilion became part of the Legion.<br /> <br /> Legion Commander Dave Dellinger said the pavilion had been in disrepair for years, and neither the Legion nor the city wanted to lose the piece of Gainesville history.<br /> <br /> "Originally, there was a trolley that came from town out here, circled around and back to town," said Dellinger. "It brought people out here to this park."<br /> <br /> The pavilion was a focal point, as well, when the American Legion hosted the annual Fourth of July fireworks on the Riverside Drive property. The event has since grown so large, it has been moved to Laurel Park.<br /> <br /> The pavilion was listed in 2012 on The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's Top Ten "Places in Peril" in Georgia. <br /> <br /> After that designation, Gainesville City Council pulled $25,000 from the city's General Fund for the purposed of restoring the facility. Labor was supplied by correctional institution inmates.<br /> <br /> The City of Gainesville will have free use of the pavilion to promote tourism. In addition, the Legion rents the pavilion for private events.<br /> <br /> "Now it's good for another hundred years, and nobody has to worry about it for awhile," said Dellinger following Saturday's ribbon cutting.<br /> <br />
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