Heritage Prk December 2018 - Hometown News - Kevin Kelly

Park Dedication Ceremony Sets A New Tradition

Article by Dawn Kelly and Photography by Kevin Kelly – Hometown News – avillanews@gmail.com (now dawn.girlfriday@gmail.com), December 11, 2018

AVILLA – The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Heritage Park marked the day when a dream and a lot of planning and work became a welcomed reality.  On Saturday, December 8th, Avilla friends and neighbors gathered together to celebrate the transformation of the lot between Avilla Hair Salon and where the former MagPie’s Pizza was on East Albion Street, into a beautiful pocket park.

The Restore Avilla committee, comprised of Todd Carteaux, Kevin Kelly, Bill Ley, Randy King, Russ Shartzer, Abby Cole, Bill Freeman, Jill Hoffelder, and Dawn Kelly, has worked diligently as a team over the past year and a few months to make this greenspace a reality. The dedication of the pocket park begins a tradition for the Avilla Chamber, the Town of Avilla, and ReStore Avilla to collaborate and partner to host Christmas in Avilla each year at Heritage Park.

ReStore Avilla asked the public for suggestions about what to name the pocket park and the name, Heritage Park, was designated as the perfect name by the ReStore committee. Heritage Park was suggested by Avilla resident, Charolotte Dye.

More than 50 people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the ribbon-cutting.  Restore’s President, Todd Carteaux, began the ceremony, encouraging the crowd to get involved with organizations and groups that serve the community.

As the park’s dedication began, Carteaux spoke passionately, saying, “We took a place downtown that was an eyesore, and together the whole community came together and made it a place of beauty that young and old could use alike.  I’d like Heritage Park to be a symbol of what we can do when we work together in the community.  This is a beginning, not an end.  There are so many things that you can help the Town of Avilla – the Park Board only has one member – you could help the Park Board. The Chamber of Commerce needs members. You could help at the Restore board – you can help us with our cause.”

Reverend Shalimar Holderly, from Avilla Calvary United Methodist Church, prayed for the park, the town, and the community before a youngster from the attendees cut the ribbon for the celebration to move into the park’s space itself.

With much jubilation and cheering, everyone happily enjoyed Christmas music, warm cider, and cookies as they mingled and walked through the park, looking at the bronze plaque, the capstones, and the furniture; taking in the beauty of the new space.

Santa joined the fun shortly thereafter with much enthusiasm and sang “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” to the crowd, before announcing that there will be an Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Heritage Park in the years ahead.  Preparing for the lighting of the tree, Santa asked everyone to join in, counting down from 10 and with much anticipation, the 12-foot evergreen was beautifully lit. 

Santa then asked the children to gather and tell him their Christmas wishes. Quickly, the kids lined up, excited to chat with St. Nick. 

Brian and Dorothy Iddings, owners of the former Midtown Market, opened their doors for a place for attendees to get warmth, hot chocolate, coffee, and other goodies.  The market’s windows were also decorated for Christmas, as were a few other buildings near the park, some hosting Christmas trees for the Chamber of Commerce’s Tree Decorating Contest.  

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