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Langlade County News

Peaceful Valley Pavilion Moving Forward

December 28, 2015

A great little community mystery has been solved.

Just in time for the holidays, Don and Audrey Heinzen have stepped forward as the anonymous donors to the Peaceful Valley pavilion, a city of Antigo project that will enhance recreational and gathering options in the heart of the community.

The Heinzens gifted the city with a $150,000 toward the construction of the pavilion, a major piece of the funding pie that will allow the pavilion to be constructed next year.

Antigo and Langlade County were good to me while I was in business, Heinzen, retired from the family-owned Heinzen Plumbing & Heating, said. I made a good living.

Heinzen explained that he has always been a supporter of youth programs and I was looking for a place to give something back. This looked like a pretty good program.

The Remington Foundation supplied the initial $25,000 to begin the pavilion project and the city kicked in a similar amount. But construction remained stalled until the final piece of the pie, a $224,000 grant from the State Stewardship Fund, was awarded this fall.

We can now move the project forward with a projected completion date of no later than fall of 2016, Sarah Repp, the city’s park and recreation director, said. We’re excited for the project and thankful for the donations from the community.

Plans for the pavilion show a stunning, all-season structure that may even include a covered ice skating rink, maybe connected to the park’s warming house and outdoor rink by ice pathways.

We already have a rink there, Repp said. We could create an entire skating hub, connected by ice paths.

The out-of-the-box thinking is just one aspect of the innovative plan for the pavilion, which will be located on the south side of Sixth Avenue between Field Street and Spring Brook.

This will provide a wonderful opportunity for people to use a public space with a lot of variety, Repp said. We’re creating something at Peaceful Valley that’s visually and aesthetically pleasing. Our community has a lot to offer and we value what we put in and give a lot of thoughts to amenities. Our goal is to have something that everyone can be proud of.

The general concept calls for an open-sided structure with a cantilevered roof. Garage doors will line the walls, able to be pulled down to make a substantially-closed structure in the event of inclement weather.

There are some limitations on what can be accomplished in a flood plain, Repp said. The open concept won’t impede water flow and flooding likely wouldn’t harm the structure to any extent.

The pavilion will boost events such as the Badgerland car show, which already uses the area, and the possibilities are almost endless for future events. One idea certainly under consideration would be moving the nearby Music in the Park concerts there in the event of inclement weather. Now those concerts are relocated to the high school commons when it rains and attendance generally suffers.

We can’t even imagine all the events that could take place down there, Repp said, suggesting everything from class reunions to wedding receptions could find an attractive and receptive home in that area. Usage of that area is really taking off.

The Peaceful Valley Park complex is actually taking an area that was blighted—the floodplain and former railroad beltline that bisected downtown—and turning it into an asset.

People are noticing the change, Repp said. It’s been fun.

The Heinzens said the completed pavilion is something they, and the whole community, can be proud of.

This is something our grandchildren can see and enjoy, they said.

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