Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

March 25, 2012

Lack of respect for landmark in park appalling

Who could have done such a thing? And why? Those were the questions that many Goshen residents had when they heard that the Roger’s Park pavilion was badly damaged by a fire Wednesday night.

 The fire’s origin is suspicious, according to the Goshen Fire Department.

The fact that someone started the fire galls us. Someone was either careless or had criminal intent to place something combustible in a trash can under the facility and then walk away. Such an action is total disrespect for the community’s public property and the history that is tied to it.

In an attempt to quickly find the person or persons involved, the fire department is offering a $5,000 reward for information. We hope someone soon acts on that offer.

The pavilion, in some form or other, has been enjoyed by city residents for about 100 years. Before the structure was converted to a pavilion, its concrete support pillars held up a dance hall where the Rogers band played and crowds of dancers shuffled across the floor as part of the city’s social scene.

As a pavilion, the structure has sheltered picnics, family reunions, ball teams, fair parade participants and countless people who simply strolled into the park looking for a shady place to sit and relax. Now, with the fire damage, all those activities may end if the park board decides the pavilion cannot be saved.

No matter what the outcome of the investigation is, we would urge the park board and the City Council, as well as community organizations, to come together with the resolve to restore and preserve this historic pavilion. It would be a shame if someone’s irresponsible act wrote the epitaph of this wonderful facility that has brought so much joy to Goshen residents during the past century.

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