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New pavilion a source of pride

July 1, 2009

Public Forum: June 24 was a banner day for Wauwatosa. Many heart swelled with satisfaction and pride. At 5 p.m., I was parked on the gravel road at the new Rotary Performance Pavilion, just east of Hart Park. It was the first in a series of four free concerts provided to Wauwatosa and surrounding communities. Sponsored by Tosa Tonight, WaterStone Bank, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Rotary Club of Wauwatosa, this is the first major expansion of Hart Park. It's a dream come true. In April 2000, at the Rotary Club president-elect training session in Stevens Point, Charlie Schaefer (now deceased), president-elect of the Wauwatosa Mayfair Rotary Club, we were relaxing in the evening. We said, "Let's do something meaningful for Wauwatosa." The seed was planted for a new entertainment facility located somewhere in Wauwatosa. Many meetings with many officials followed to solidify the location, budget of $1 million and design and construction. That was April 2000 and on June 24, almost 10 years later, the initial construction phase of the Rotary Performance Pavilion is complete and paid for. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held during the first show. The inaugural show featured Swing Nouveau with their big band and swing favorites. To me, the highlight was watching Tosa families gathered on lawn chairs and blankets enjoying a beautiful summer event. The specific highlight, for me, was watching the many small children and adults dancing, playing to the swinging beat and thoroughly enjoying the warm summer evening. This is exactly what we had envisioned. How exciting to see it emerge from idea to completion. We should all be warm on the inside and glowing outside! Future expansions funded by the city of Wauwatosa will include a children's play area, parking lot, permanent bathrooms, donor monuments, landscaping, permanent seating for 275 and amphitheater and lawn seating for 1,725. Many thanks to Wauwatosa Rotary Club chairman Paul Roller, project chairman; Mayfair Rotary Club of Wauwatosa Jim Englehardt, project leader, and Chris Leffler of Tosa Tonight.   Tom Rowe Rotary past president

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