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Springfield Sisters Cities, Friends of the Garden partner on Peace Through People Pavilion

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The Springfield Sister Cities Association will assist in funding construction of a new “Peace Through People Pavilion,” an outdoor pavilion designed for cultural performances and events at the Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park.

Landscape architect Frank Zanaboni Jr. created this view of what the pavilion will look like just east of the parking lot a few steps from the Botanical Center.

Landscape architect Frank Zanaboni Jr. created this view of what the pavilion will look like just east of the parking lot a few steps from the Botanical Center.

The SSCA, Friends of the Garden and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board are partnering to build the pavilion this summer, just east of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, near the Dogwood and Redbud Gardens. A groundbreaking will be announced soon. Construction is scheduled to be complete no later than fall.

The Peace Through People Pavilion will include a covered band shell powered for stage lighting and amplified sound, with the stage facing a landscaped open-air amphitheater. Seating for 500 persons is part of the plan, who could be seated formally on chairs or informally using lawn chairs or blankets on grass. The pavilion will be used for special events hosted by the SSCA, Friends of the Garden, as well as available for community reservations via the Park Board. It is anticipated that the venue will be a popular location for weddings in addition to the Hosta Garden and Miniature Conifer Garden, and most recently, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden.

The Peace Through People Pavilion’s name reflects the mission and goals of the Springfield Sister Cities Association: to advance awareness and understanding of many cultures, particularly through avenues such as performance, art and music.

“With the growing popularity of the Springfield Botanical Gardens as one of the city’s premiere amenities and our strong partnerships with FOG and the Park Board, the SSCA board believes this is an ideal location to build upon our success in creating more cultural opportunities for the community,” SSCA President Michael Thomas said.

The project is funded entirely by private donations through the Springfield Sister Cities Association and Friends of the Garden, Conco Companies and a $5,000 grant administered by the Springfield Regional Arts Council on behalf of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. In addition, the Tom and Kay Finnie Endowment Fund has been established at the CFO for long-term maintenance of the project. The Springfield-Greene County Park Board is providing in-kind services such as site preparation for the construction.

Springfield-based Butler, Rosenbury & Partners is the architect for the project. Frank Zanaboni of FrankZ Landscaping is the landscape architect working with Dennis McMan, senior planner for the Park Board.

Project updates will be posted on the SSCA website, PeaceThroughPeople.org.

A rendering of the project is available at ParkBoard.org

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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