By Mary Baker
At their regular meeting on August 2, members of the Idlewild Neighborhood Association (INA) voted to make a contribution to Preservation Memphis (PM) to support the restoration of the historic Peabody Park Pavilion. Idlewild neighbors learned about the fundraising efforts of PM through an article published in the July Lamplighter. There was immediate interest and support in the neighborhood because Peabody Park is within the boundaries of Idlewild and is an important place for neighbors to meet for recreation within our community. Many of those at the meeting routinely go the park with their families.
Alex Turley and Kenny Jabbour of Preservation Memphis were invited to attend the INA meeting to make a presentation. Their presentation was about the history of the pavilion, which was built more than 100 years ago and has been the location of July 4th and other celebrations in the community. They also talked about the impressive details of the pavilion that have been covered over with many insensitive repairs and repainting jobs that did not respect the original construction.
Their presentation won great support from the Idlewild neighbors at the meeting, who passed the hat and collected $136. In addition, members voted to donate $400 from INA funds to PM. In total, Idlewild presented Preservation Memphis with $536 toward the restoration of the pavilion.
Beverly Crockett, a former president of INA, said that this project fulfills a desire that the neighborhood association has had for many years. She added that when the City of Memphis reconstructed facilities at the park, including adding the spray park, the neighborhood asked for restoration of the existing historic pavilion. The City did not restore the pavilion saying that there were not sufficient funds in their budget for park improvements.
Margo Mueller, current vice president of INA said, “I think it was important to give to the preservation of the pavilion because of the historical aspect of it. It’s nice to have something that represents the past right next to the modern playground equipment.” She thinks preserving the historic structure and restoring it to its original appearance will provide a physical link to the history of the neighborhood and the City.
Jerry Brown, an active INA member and block captain said, “In a neighborhood where we have to constantly fight for the preservation of our historical landmarks and where so many of those battles have been lost, the restoration of the Peabody Park Pavilion is critical. A well designed strategy is in place and a major part of the funds have been raised to accomplish this goal. A final push toward completion will leave us with an irreplaceable part of our neighborhood history ready to be enjoyed by generations to come. I commend the effort of those involved.”
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