Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management (PBRM), joined with Community Preservation Committee Chairman Robert McCarroll, the Forest Park Civic Association, Lisandra Rosario from State Representative Carlos Gonzalez Office, and the Skinner Family of the Barn Yard and Great Country Garages for a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the historic pavilion at the picnic grove in Forest Park on Tuesday, November 14th. The city contracted with the Skinner Family of the Barn Yard and Great Country Garages to complete the replica of this iconic feature. The original pavilion, the Porter Lake Skate House, and drainage infrastructure were all completed during Works Progress Administration (WPA) federal projects from 1935-1943.
PBRM received a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant of $242,000 to rebuild the pavilion and make site improvements. The Barn Yard and Great Country Garages donated the design work for this project and furnished and installed the 24’ by 16’ timber frame pavilion. Engineered Building Contractors performed the site work, including installation of the path, picnic tables and concrete work. GZA, GeoEnvironmental, Inc. did the design component of the project. In addition to replacing the pavilion, the surrounding area has been landscaped to ADA standards with paths and picnic tables throughout the small grove.
Mayor Sarno states, “This is what is so special about Forest Park as we continue to recognize our illustrious past and respectfully restore these notable features of our beautiful neighborhood parks. We recently allocated $1 million to repair the Barney Carriage House roof and are looking forward to future grant announcements to renovate the Zoo at Forest Park and construct a state-of-the-art Horticulture Center. These ventures enhance Forest Park for our park patrons and I look forward to even more exciting projects across our city.”
Mayor Sarno continued, “Thank you to Director Sullivan, Director of Open Space Peter Krupczak, and their team for their efforts. I would like to extend special thanks to Chris and Everett Skinner from the Barn Yard. They are always just a phone call away when the city needs their unique talents. This impressive pavilion emulates the former original pavilion pictured in many iconic post cards. Thank you to the CPA committee as they have worked closely with my administration, specifically our Springfield Parks and neighborhood councils, in selecting these worthy projects throughout our city.”
Patrick Sullivan noted, “Thank you to the Forest Park Civic Association for teaming with us on the CPA application. And kudos to the CPA committee as they have worked tirelessly in assuring the historic accuracy of this and other park projects. I’d like to extend a special acknowledgment of the Skinner family as they ensured that this project would be historically precise with rough-milled posts and a replication of the twig railing that backdrops the pavilion. It is remarkable workmanship from the roof to the flooring. Thank you for helping us preserve the history of this great park”
Jennifer McQuade added, “We are thrilled to have this project completed for our park patrons. The residents of this city will greatly enjoy this picnic pavilion and we appreciate the collaboration with the Barn Yard and Great Country Garages, the Forest Park Civic Association, and the CPA Committee. We hope this will be just the start of many improvements in the picnic groves throughout Forest Park.”
Chris Skinner stated: “It has been a great pleasure working with the City of Springfield to recreate the pavilion structure keeping the design consistent with the past. We look forward to the many memories that will be made here by the families that utilize this picnic grove for family gatherings.”