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Gainesville plans restoration of Chattahoochee Park Pavilion
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The city of Gainesville plans to spend $25,000 to restore the century-old Chattahoochee Park Pavilion at the end of Riverside Drive. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

Gainesville plans to spend $25,000 to restore the century-old Chattahoochee Park Pavilion off Riverside Drive.

“This is a part of history we really want to see preserved,” City Councilwoman Ruth Bruner said Thursday morning during a work session discussion.

The city has worked out an agreement with the property owner, American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7, where it would spend the money for materials and take care of labor with city workers.

In exchange, Gainesville can use the property, which also includes bathrooms and a “barbecue hut,” at no charge for “efforts in the promotion of tourism and conventions,” according to a resolution the council will consider at its Tuesday meeting.

Also, the city could use the property “to conduct water rescues and water rescue training exercises,” the resolution states.

The nonprofit Atlanta-based Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation named the structure, which was built about 1900, to its 2012 list of 10 Georgia “Places in Peril.”

Dave Dellinger, the post commander, said he is looking forward to the restoration, which he hopes could start in 30-45 days.

The pavilion was part of an amusement park, Chattahoochee Park, built on the banks of what was then Lake Warner. An electric streetcar line was built from downtown Gainesville to the area.

Georgia Power bought the park in 1923 and operated it as an employee retreat until 1955. When Lake Lanier was completed in 1958, most of the buildings of Chattahoochee Park were covered by water, leaving behind just the pavilion.

“The pavilion has a large amount of rotting timbers that are in need of repair and replacing,” states the Georgia Trust website in its report on the property.

In presenting the city’s restoration plans Thursday, the city’s special projects manager, Jessica Tullar, said the property “is a historically significant part of Gainesville, with it being a destination resort area, but it (is) also important architecturally.”

She cited the pavilion’s intricate roof trussing system.

The American Legion, which acquired the property in April 1959, occasionally leases the structure for picnics and weddings, Dellinger said.

“This is my pride and joy,” he said. “It’s why I took over as commander. I wanted to see that (restoration) done.”

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