Popular Chugiak park pavilions reopened to public

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 13:11
  • Kurt Jokela with Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation removes fencing around a pavilion at Mirror Lake Park in Chugiak on July 31, 2017. The pavilions are are a popular venue for birthday parties, barbecues, family picnics and other community gatherings. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • A sign at Mirror Lake Park in Chugiak on July 31, 2017. The pavilions at the park are a popular venue for birthday parties, barbecues, family picnics and other community gatherings. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann) A sign at Mirror Lake Park in Chugiak on July 31, 2017. The pavilions at the park are a popular venue for birthday parties, barbecues, family picnics and other community gatherings. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • An Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation employee removes fencing around a pavilion at Mirror Lake Park in Chugiak on July 31, 2017. The pavilions are are a popular venue for birthday parties, barbecues, family picnics and other community gatherings. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

Following months of construction closures, inspection issues and cancelled events, the Mirror Lake Park pavilions reopened to the public on the last day of July.

“I’m so excited to let everyone in,” said Karen Richards, Eagle River Parks and Recreation manager.

The opening is months overdue. Closed for improvements in August of 2016, the pavilions were originally scheduled to be completed and reopened by November, but there were “deficiencies” with a newly poured concrete slab, the park manager said.

“Within 30 days it was heaving,” Richards said.

The project was put on hold. Crews had to wait until May to tear up portions of the work and locate the flaws, the park manager said. Then, she said, project managers used an on-site inspector to complete a routine project inspection — a decision that caused further delays with the municipal Public Works Department. The municipality finally agreed to issue a certificate of occupancy based on the pavilion design engineer’s stamp of approval, Richards said.

One of several public facilities available for rent through Eagle River Parks and Recreation, the pavilions are used for birthday parties, barbecues, family gatherings and other events. But for months this summer — while the temperatures hovered in the 70s and crowds gathered on the adjacent lakeshore — the pavilions remained blocked by mesh fencing and red tape. Pre-booked events were rescheduled or called off entirely; by the time the pavilions reopened, the parks department had lost approximately $5,000-$8,000 in cancelled rentals, Richards said.

“That’s the problem – people book this park a year in advance just to get it,” she said.

Richards said she’s happy to have the pavilions back and empathizes with those who were put out during the project.

“I know that people have been very frustrated,” she said.

Now reopened the public, the pavilions feature fresh concrete and newly installed picnic tables and other, less visible improvements. For more information on pavilion rentals, visit Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation online at www.Muni.org/Departments/ERParks.

Contact Kirsten Swann at kirsten.swann@alaskastar.com.

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