Picnic pavilion promises to be place for fun

  • Published
  • By Paul Zadach
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Imagine a place where you could pitch some horseshoes, play some volleyball, maybe listen to some music or just relax with some friends on a beautiful Minnesota afternoon. That reality is coming this spring with a new picnic pavilion now under construction.

The pavilion, near the Fitness Center, will provide space for about 19 picnic tables with a seating capacity of 152 and a recommended group size of no more than 200, according to Les Canarr, 934th Mission Support Group civil engineer.

"I think the pavilion will be a main focal point during Family Day. Plus, it will provide an opportunity for spouses and families to use while their military family member performs their duties, especially during the UTAs," said Mike Sanford, 934th Airmen and Family Readiness director.

The 934th Airlift Wing won the Installation Excellence Award for 2011 and with that distinction came a monetary award to be used for improving the base's facilities. Approximately $73,000 of the $100,000 award will be used for construction of the pavilion.

The award comes with fairly specific instructions on what the money can be used for. "I asked a working group to study the options and make recommendations on how the funds could best benefit the wing," said Col. Darrell Young, 934th Airlift Wing commander. The picnic pavilion was selected as a facility everyone in the wing could enjoy and because there was nothing like it for outdoor activities. " I think it will be a fun place to relax and celebrate unit events," said Colonel Young.

"The site where the pavilion is being built has always been reserved for future MWR functions," said Canarr. "The plan was to put a picnic pavilion in this area with electric and water, with future thoughts towards one sand volleyball court and two horseshoe pits. These additional facilities are still being discussed and their location positioned."

Specific guidelines for use of the pavilion are still being developed. Canarr said there will be picnic tables and trash cans available in the spring as well as electricity by April and a single water point near the area by fall of 2013.

"I think the pavilion will be a wonderful addition to the other facilities and amenities on-base to enhance Family Day and other events on-base, said Andrea Zenner, 934th Key Spouse mentor.

Paula Hacken Thaemert, a 934th Key Spouse added, "It will be a wonderful place to meet other spouses while staying on base during UTA weekends!"

There will be a ribbon cutting in April or May to officially open the facility.