A coat of white paint still was needed for the Norwich Pavilion at Weaver Park in Hilliard, but Norwich Township and Hilliard officials still gathered June 21 to dedicate the 2,500-square-foot structure.
After the natural wood cures, white paint will be applied to match the historic church building near the pavilion at the park, 4100 Columbia St.
Even before its official opening, people had been using it for picnic lunches, said Chuck Buck, president of the Franklin County Agricultural Society.
The Hilliard Ohio Historical Society, which also maintains the Historical Village at Weaver Park, will manage the pavilion, including the scheduling of private events, said Norwich Township administrator Jamie Fisher.
Those events are expected to include receptions for some weddings held at the church, for which the historical society receives the fees, said Barb Cash, president of the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society.
The pavilion is in a public park and as such, it will be available for public use, except for instances when it is rented for a private party, Cash said.
The pavilion may be leased for $120 for a three-hour block at hilliardohiovenues.com, she said.
The dates and times of private-party reservations will be posted at the pavilion, Cash said.
Residence in Hilliard is not a requirement to lease the pavilion, she said.
"We hope it will continue to be well-used and enjoyed by our community," said Buck, who credits Tim Woodruff, past president of the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society, with initiating the idea and Fisher with "spearheading" the effort.
Construction of the Norwich Pavilion, which is inside Weaver Park between the Joint Safety Services Building, 5171 Northwest Parkway, and the Franklin County Fairgrounds, began Feb. 25.
Norwich Township paid for the $298,000 pavilion through estate-tax revenue, Fisher said.
The revenue was from the now abolished estate tax that Norwich had collected dating back to 2005, she said. The tax was repealed effective January 2013.
Around 2008, Norwich Township trustees discussed using the estate-tax revenue for community projects, Fisher said.
"The Norwich Pavilion project is an example of this," she said.
The township had deeded the pavilion to the city of Hilliard, which will be responsible for its maintenance, insurance and associated operating costs, Fisher said.
Hilliard City Council Vice President Pete Marsh called the pavilion "a great example of teamwork in our community."
The pavilion also is a facility that can be used to attract visitors to the city, said Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce.