Rotary donates gazebo, boardwalk to Tuscora Park The 140-foot-long boardwalk and 34-foot-wide gazebo are gifts to the city of New Philadelphia on the occasion of the club's centennial.

Members of the community check out the new boardwarlk and gazebo given to the the city by the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia at a dedication ceremony at Tuscora Park. Photo: Pat Burk
Members of the community check out the new boardwarlk and gazebo given to the the city by the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia at a dedication ceremony at Tuscora Park. Photo: Pat Burk

In dedicating the boardwalk and gazebo at Tuscora Park on Wednesday, Mayor Joel B Day thanked the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia (US, District 6650) for giving the city a new feature.

“We finally got a waterfront in New Philadelphia,” he said while standing in the gazebo at the edge of the park’s lake.

“Tuscora Park remains the city’s main attraction because of the commitment of the Rotary Club members to maintain the rides, the concessions, the Teen Centre and the Summer Showcase.”

Rotary President Travis Alberts, in turn, thanked those who made possible the 140-foot-long boardwalk and 34-foot-wide gazebo, a gift to the city on the occasion of the local group’s centennial.

Alberts noted that the club renovated the Tuscora Park amphitheater for its 75th anniversary.

“The boardwalk project is the largest undertaking that the Rotary Club in New Philadelphia has taken on,” Alberts said.

“We could not have done it without the support of the generous donors.”

Some of the project’s many contractors and contributors attended Wednesday’s dedication, among them Marta Farbizo Vassiles, of Dover, and her daughter Chrysanthe E Vassiles, of Bolivar.

The family’s donation for the project came from them and Marta’s sister Neva Farbizo Greenwald in memory of Marta and Neva’s late parents Clarence E and Mina Marburger Farbizo.

Marta commended Rotarian and City Council President Sam Hitchcock for generating the idea for the improvement three years ago.

“We’ve always wanted to do something special in memory of my parents,” Marta said.

“Tuscora Park is such a gem. It’s something that people of all ages could benefit from.”

Even prior to its dedication, the waterfront structure was used by the public.

At least one wedding has been held there, Hitchcock said.

There will undoubtedly be many other special occasions there, in addition to the movies and concerts Hitchcock plans to stage on the gazebo in his role as director of the Park Place Teen Centre.

Rotary Club Secretary Holly Ripple plans to have her wedding photos taken there when she marries Aaron Hillyer.

“It’s just a beautiful location,” she said, noting that the couple already spends a lot of time in the park.

Volunteer labour created the plans and oversaw construction.

Project manager Joe Croft worked free of charge, as did architects Jack Pottmeyer and Todd Wrobleski.
Pottmeyer created the concept. Wrobleski made the detailed drawings, complete with wrought iron decorations along the railing and stone flooring for the gazebo.

Alberts said the local Rotary Club has been involved in international and local service projects.

Alberts recounted a calendar of events that keeps Rotary involved in community activities throughout the year, beginning with the health screenings run in conjunction with Union Hospital; planting, mulching and weeding at Tuscora Park;

Besides, the Salute Freedom project that distributes American flags throughout the city; and the Christmas-themed Storybook Lane.

“The Rotary founder Paul Harris once said, ‘Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves,’” he said.

“This will be achieved here in New Philadelphia by seeing kids, families, grandparents — really folks of all ages — taking in the view of the park and looking over the water with smiles on their faces.

“The New Philadelphia Rotary Club is vibrant, it’s growing and we look forward to serving the community that we love for another 100 years.”

The final cost of the project is estimated at $192,000. Fund-raising continues.

About $40,000 more is being sought. The club hopes to build a plaza at the water’s edge north of the gazebo. 

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