The fate of Cherokee Park’s iconic pavilion has grown uncertain – WLKY Louisville | Wonder Mind Kids

The fate of the teepee-shaped Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park has grown uncertain. The iconic pavilion closed in May due to structural problems. On Thursday, a Louisville Metro Council committee voted to cut $1.4 million in repairs. Instead, the Budget Committee approved $100,000 for demolition. The money could also be used to temporarily support the structure while the city continues to consider the next step. Earlier that day, Metro Council members learned at the Parks Committee that the deterioration is so bad that the engineering firm, which has provided repair estimates, doesn’t want its employees under the pavilion over safety concerns. “What we heard yesterday in the parks committee is that even if we take the renovation route and try to keep the structure, there’s still a chance we could start with that and the whole thing could collapse.” That doesn’t mean that the Pavilion will be demolished for sure. The full Metro Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on December 1 — part of an overall plan to spend $30 million in excess money. More importantly, as a designated historic landmark, the city must obtain a demolition permit from the Landmarks Commission, which would be required to hold public hearings. “No one is rushing to make any decisions here,” Armstrong said. “We want people to get involved and participate. It’s a really important park, a really important part of the community. And so I hope that people will come and participate in the public processes and make their voices heard.” Any discussion of Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion is sure to be emotional. Completed in 1965, the one-of-a-kind shelter has been home to birthday parties, family reunions, special events, and nightly gatherings, among many other memories. “My daughters grew up in this park,” said Cliff Schulman. “I know a lot of people who would be really upset if $1.4 million — which isn’t a lot of money, especially given Louisville’s budget surplus — couldn’t be found.” Fred Basil recalls opening the pavilion as a child . He now drops by the structure every day while walking his dog. “Replace it,” he said. “Just get it right. Get it right. To fix it, who knows how long it’s going to take?” If the pavilion is demolished, further debate will likely focus on the design of the replacement. Should the next iteration adopt the iconic teepee shape, as Basil prefers, or a more spartan design, like a new shelter some 100 meters away. And who would pay for it? Some council members suggested turning to charities like the Olmstead Conservancy to help foot the bill. Bill Williamson was asked for his opinion on a walk in the park on Friday morning. “I’m glad I’m not part of the group that has to make the decision,” he said, laughing.

The fate of the teepee-shaped Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park has grown uncertain.

The iconic pavilion closed in May due to structural problems.

On Thursday, a Louisville Metro Council committee voted to cut the proposed $1.4 million for repairs. Instead, the Budget Committee approved $100,000 for demolition.

The money could also be used to temporarily support the structure while the city continues to consider the next step.

Earlier that day, Metro Council members learned at the park committee that the deterioration is so bad that the engineering firm that provided repair estimates doesn’t want its employees under the pavilion for safety reasons.

“I’m all for getting more information,” said Cassie Chambers Armstrong, the Metro Council member whose district the park is a part of. “What we heard yesterday in the parks committee is that even if we take the renovation route and try to keep the structure, there’s still a chance we could start and the whole thing could collapse.”

This does not mean that the pavilion will definitely be demolished.

The full Metro Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on December 1 — part of an overall plan to spend $30 million in excess money.

More importantly, as a designated historic landmark, the city must obtain a demolition permit from the Landmarks Commission, which would be required to conduct public hearings.

“Nobody makes decisions in haste here,” Armstrong said. “We want people to get involved and get involved. It’s a really important park, a really important part of the community. And so I hope that people will come and participate in the public processes and make their voices heard.”

Any discussion about Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion is sure to get emotional. Completed in 1965, the one-of-a-kind shelter has been home to birthday parties, family reunions, special events, and nightly gatherings, among many other memories.

“My daughters grew up in this park,” said Cliff Schulman. “I know a lot of people who would be really upset if $1.4 million — which isn’t a lot of money, especially with Louisville’s budget surpluses — couldn’t be found.”

Fred Basil remembers opening the pavilion as a child. He walks his dog past the structure every day now.

“Replace,” he said. “Just do it right. Do it right. To fix it, who knows how long that will take?”

If the pavilion is demolished, further debate will likely revolve around the design of the replacement. Should the next iteration adopt the iconic teepee shape, as Basil prefers, or a more spartan design, like a new shelter about 100 meters away.

And who would pay for that? Some council members suggested turning to charities like the Olmstead Conservancy to help foot the bill.

Bill Williamson was asked for his opinion on a walk in the park on Friday morning.

“I’m glad I’m not part of the group that has to make the decision,” he said, laughing.

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