Leon Young Pavilion project inches closer to completion


The Leon Young Pavilion is near the southern end of Shooks Run trail. - ALLEN BEAUCHAMP
  • Allen Beauchamp
  • The Leon Young Pavilion is near the southern end of Shooks Run trail.

With the city's official invitation for contractors to submit design proposals, a long-delayed makeover for the Leon Young Pavilion — an aging wooden structure in the Hillside neighborhood, named for the city's first and only black mayor — is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The city on Aug. 29 issued a Request for Proposal, or RFP, soliciting bids from design and construction companies. Contractors must submit their proposals by Oct. 2, and the city will make a decision in November, according to the document.

The winning bidder must "revitalize the Leon Young Pavilion space for local gatherings" and "commemorate who Leon Young was and how much he brought to this community," the RFP says.

In order to accomplish that, the contractor should "help the City assess the existing site, propose a concept design & approach, and implement as many elements from the community’s
input as possible."

The work will include adding an accessible walkway and portable toilets, replacing the picnic tables, conditioning some wooden elements and removing others, redesigning community gathering areas, restoring turf and irrigation, installing a receptacle for electricity access, and adding security lighting.

Separately, a committee of Hillside neighborhood community members is designing a memorial to Leon Young to be installed on the site.

Last year, although a $150,000 federal community-development block grant was available for pavilion redevelopment, the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department said the project couldn't go forward — to the consternation of neighborhood advocates hoping to preserve and honor Young's legacy while improving an important recreational amenity.

Representatives from the city's Community Development and Parks departments held community meetings in the fall of 2018 and early 2019 to solicit feedback from Hillside residents and develop a plan going forward. Feedback from those meetings resulted in the city's RFP, along with the formation of a memorial committee.

The project will be paid for with the same type of federal block grant funding that was available last year, according to the RFP.

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