A three-year effort to build an open-air pavilion in downtown Washington appears to have stalled.
As of January, $358,624 has been raised to build the pavilion over two parking lots on South Main Street, one of which hosts the Main Street Farmers Market every Thursday from May through October. With an estimated price tag of $850,000, another $500,000 is needed, putting the pavilion’s supporters less than halfway to their goal. A request this year for $200,000 in local share money was nixed, so now sights are being set on corporate sponsors or private donors to try to get the project going.
Early last week, Washington Councilman Joe Manning announced that part of the proceeds from this July’s Whiskey Rebellion Festival would be earmarked for the pavilion. Manning, who is also on the festival’s committee, noted in a story that appeared in this newspaper Tuesday that, of all the things that have been attempted in recent years to revive commerce and foot traffic in downtown Washington, the farmers market has been the one certified, undeniable success story. The hope is that a pavilion will not only fortify the farmers market but bring other events to the community.
We hope the commitment the festival organizers have made to the pavilion prods others to get involved. Though the $850,000 cost seems a little pricey to us, the pavilion as it is currently envisioned could be a much-needed spur for economic activity in Washington’s downtown.
An investment in this pavilion could well go a long way.