CAMN Decade Pavilion Grand Opening
Remarks by Janet Lanza
Wednesday, May 18 was a red-letter day, long in the making. The pavilion began as a germ of an idea in the brain of Richard Lawrence in 2015. He imagined it as a testament to the 10 years of efforts by the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists to improve the outdoor environment of Arkansas. It was thus termed the “CAMN Decade Pavilion Project.”
Richard, Bert Turner, and Bill Toland chose this spot for a pavilion because it was at the intersection of several trails and had—and has—a fabulous view of the Arkansas River. You can see for yourselves that they chose well.
Bert worked with the City of North Little Rock to secure approval, get the plans approved, and secure funding. We’re not sure, but we wonder if Bert’s efforts also led to a series of disasters and near-disasters. The disasters centered on that beautiful river—multiple floods! One deposited 3’ of sand on the River trail and huge logs right at this spot! But the community rallied. The City engineers, Pulaski County maintenance, the Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA cooperated to restore this area. The original pavilion design was scrapped. The partially constructed pavilion was destroyed. So the pavilion was redesigned and rebuilt. There are 16 yards of concrete under our feet so that this structure will withstand the ferocity of a 100-year flood.
Most recently the project was spear-headed by a CAMN committee appointed by Davis Thompson, currently serving as past-president of CAMN.
But the Grand Opening represents the power and persistence of CAMN, donors, and the organizations and their people.—overcoming, at least for now, the power of the river!
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in making this day and our celebration arrive.