New pavilion project breaks ground in Russom Park

DOWAGIAC — Members of the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac and other community leaders gathered Saturday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of its new pavilion at Russom Park.

The pavilion project, which has been in the works for more than three years, involves the construction of a 20- by 40-foot steel pavilion to complement Russom Park’s sports complex, which features baseball, soccer and softball fields for park visitors. 

The Young Professionals spent that time raising the $40,000 needed for the project, which it did by hosting popular events including the Paddling Poker Run and its annual “Uniquely Dowagiac” Christmas ornament sale.

“The goal is to have a place to provide shade for families,” said Young Professionals chair and Wightman Project Manager Stefany Holland. “It’s a place where the community can gather and eat under cover. We’ve been working on this for a couple years now and I think we’ve been so blessed to live in such a great community to get so much support for this. We wanted to do this groundbreaking ceremony to kind of signify the beginning of the end of this project.”

Russom Park is located along the boundary line between the City of Dowagiac and Silver Creek Township. Dowagiac Mayor Don Lyons was on hand for the ceremony and was impressed with the way the Young Professionals collaborated with different people and organizations.”

“It’s a great reminder to the kids of the value of teamwork,” he said. “Everything you see here is a result of teamwork. It’s a cooperation between the city and the township, between baseball and soccer, softball and football. Now the Young Professionals association has come forward and said we want to be part of that team. We want to give back, we want to see it grow and prosper and we’re willing to put our time, our effort and our money behind that project and create a pavilion for the parents and for the kids.”

Holland said construction will begin soon and that she expects the pavilion will be completed by the end of the summer. Handling construction will be Moore Brothers Buildings, 58151 Park Pl., Dowagiac and Charles Concrete, 53910 Rudy Road, Dowagiac, will handle the concrete floor.

“We really want to thank everybody for the support we’ve gotten,” she said. “Even through the pandemic and everything else, this has been a good rallying project as a community to bring everyone together.”

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