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Pavilion project nears completion

INDIANOLA — Indianola residents will soon have back one of two of their most important community meeting areas, as work on the Bud Merrill Pavilion races toward completion before the end of the year. Events from the Saturday weekly market to Halloween trick-or-treating to Christmas parties are held beneath the rafters named for one of Indianola’s own — a man who was humble and would have wanted all attention on friends and neighbors rather than himself.

Bud Merrill, who died in September 2003, has long been remembered as someone who tried to bring residents together, working for the good of the whole, said his daughter, Ann Merrill Lantz. He would have been thrilled with the recent efforts made by so many community members to remodel the popular pavilion.

“I have a whole family being blessed by all of this,” Lantz said. “My mom, brother and sister, for all of us, this is an amazing, heartwarming thing. Dad would love it. It’s wonderful to be able to share his legacy, and leave something that will last for years to come.”

The pavilion, which was in organized shambles a little over a month ago, is now awaiting only light fixtures, a concrete slab, benches and landscaping, said Larson Casteel Landscaping Company owner and Indianola resident Laurie Larson. The structure has been finished, including the installation of a carved pole by artist Dave Franklin in the center of the pavilion. She said crews are also working on measures to keep the new construction from being vandalized, especially the carved pole. The concrete slab will be poured at the end of this month, weather permitting, and the benches and landscaping will follow in early December, Larson said.

“We have it closed off right now,” she said. “There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony. This has been privately funded, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without everyone’s help. Bud Merrill’s daughter, Ann Merrill Lantz, would like to have a ribbon cutting to kind of thank everyone.”

Lantz said her father would not have wanted the spotlight on him during such an event, but rather on everyone who helped, even a little, during the construction process. She said crews are even moving the sign with the pavilion’s name on it lower, saying her father would have preferred it that way.

“It was named after Dad, but he would have wanted it to be about a shared community involvement,” Lantz said. “He was really humble... a community man, and this is a community project. What we’re planning on doing is having a ceremony acknowledging the people who helped with the project in keeping with the spirit of the place. We’ve had some ideas float around there, and the community has been instrumental in bringing the place back to what it should be.”

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