The long awaited gazebo being built in Normal Park is taking shape and will be formally dedicated on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. prior to the Merrill City Band concert scheduled for 7 p.m. The ceremony, originall slated for tonight (June 22) is being postponed a week due to the threat of inclement weather. The dedication ceremony will include remarks from Lydia Bauman and a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce Ambassador’s.
The Bauman family started the gazebo project a couple of years ago as a memorial to Stan Bauman, a long-time Merrill business owner of Merrill Millworks and member of the Merrill City Band. Lydia Bauman, Stan’s wife, decided that a gazebo was a fitting memorial for the “man who loved Merrill” and would also pay tribute and give a new permanent home to the Merrill City Band that was also a big part of Stan’s life. And so the journey began to search for a permanent and fitting home for the gazebo that would celebrate Stan’s love for Merrill.
More than a year ago, the Bauman’s met with the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. and a Friends of Normal Park was established. The goal was to make Normal Park a centralized community gathering place with the centerpiece being the Bauman Memorial Gazebo. First on the agenda was fundraising for a brick walkway around the gazebo and as entry paths into the park. Bricks in four sizes have been purchased by individuals, companies and organizations that are being engraved and will be installed later this summer. Engraved bricks will continue to be sold and installed as the park is developed further. Other “Friends” activities will include the planting of bushes and flowers, historic lighting, park benches and marker/flag poles.
“We have been honored to be a part of this memorial park and establishing the Friends of Normal Park that has enable community members to be a part of what will become an extraordinary community gathering location,” said Debbe Kinsey, executive director of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation. “The gazebo is a large and beautiful home for the city band but will become a central gathering place for families in the community. By offering engraved bricks families and businesses throughout the community have the opportunity to honor and memorialize family, friends and other milestones. The gazebo may have started as a memorial to Stan Bauman, but the park is becoming a celebration of our community and all the people past and present that make Merrill special.”
It’s also a celebration of the Merrill City Bands 100th anniversary. And it is the Chamber’s 100th birthday, too. So to help both celebrate the Chamber is sponsoring a strawberry shortcake and lemonade booth during the band concert. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and help celebrate our past, present and future at Normal Park on June 29 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
For information on the Friends of Normal Park contact the Merrill Chamber of Commerce at 715-536-9474.