Bud Merrill remembrance in organized shambles

INDIANOLA — In order to remake the Bud Merrill Pavilion in Indianola, residents and volunteers are reducing everything to pieces and working from the ground up. The community gathering place was in desperate need of a makeover and now, with an anonymous backer, the project has begun by taking the whole thing apart to rebuild it.

Last week marked the visible beginning to the project, as crews took down the pavilion and tore out the concrete slab it protected. When completed, it will be more environmentally friendly and link better with the Indianola Clubhouse across the street. But it will still be in the image Bud Merrill envisioned when he built it two decades ago.

“They’ve taken down the structure, and the concrete is removed,” said Larson Casteel Landscaping Company owner and Indianola resident Laurie Larson. “We’re going to have recycled glass and rock waves and the beach shoreline in the new concrete. There are going to be a couple of poles that we’re having carved by Dave Franklin... It’s all moving along nicely.”

The project began in March, after a donor stepped forward to help pay for the pavilion replacement. Originally, the community was going to wait to retrofit the outdoor gathering place until after the $370,000 remodel of the Indianola Clubhouse was complete. That project is almost finished, and the anonymous open-ended donation is helping the next community plan get underway early. The pavilion’s design and construction is being spearheaded by Bud Merrill’s daughter, Ann Merrill Lantz. Her father enjoyed Indianola while he was alive, and felt it should have a community place for residents and friends to meet. The project is her way of continuing that desire today.

“It’s going to be very similar to the old one with a whole new structure, so to speak,” said Indianola Beach Improvement Committee President Duane Niemi. “It’s just a wonderful project, and a nice addition to our community.”

The pavilion houses the Saturday market, and other seasonal events and activities. Until it is finished, residents are gathering in front of the clubhouse, and some of the celebrations and gatherings will be moved indoors if there is inclement weather. Niemi said the new pavilion should be up in about two weeks, limiting the amount of time the market will have to relocate.

“Steve Kilbourne Construction has been working full time on it,” he said. “They are moving along quite rapidly. The center pole in the pavilion is also being carved for us by Dave Franklin. I just went over and looked at it (Thursday), and it looks just wonderful.”

The pavilion will also have engraved pavers installed in a portion of the concrete slab, an attribute the clubhouse also now boasts. There will be a bench dedicated to Bud Merrill by several of his friends, and native vegetation will be planted in and around the structure.

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