One strong gust reduced years of hopes and efforts to sticks, and now the Minneluzahan Senior Center board doesn’t know where to turn.
Eagle Scout Jeffrey Ray Ross built the senior center a wooden gazebo seven years ago using member donations. The board had determined the location, but in hindsight it was the wrong place. The gazebo languished unused near a shed in the backyard. Finally in July, it was moved to the right place along North Fifth Street in Rapid City — or it almost was.
As the move was nearing completion, elderly center members looked forward to watching motorists traipse past the nearby Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
"We like to watch the traffic," center member Bernice Berg said Friday. "We're old enough not to run out into traffic."
Next year, said some, they would be able to listen to the music of the Hills Alive Christian music festival from beneath the gazebo’s shade.
“People really looked forward to using it for Hills Alive,” said 20-year Minneluzahan member Betty Sutton.
The new location was outside the center’s kitchen, so members also could eat lunch there.
Anticipation was building.
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“It’s very important to the people at the center,” said 30-year center member Adeline “Addie” Calmback.
A second Eagle Scout candidate, Matthew Pehrson, began moving the shed around to the front in early July after many spring rain delays.
Finally, however, it was there. The second Scout’s father, who had taken time off work to donate his help, was coming July 31 to shore up the gazebo. The night before, however, 70-mph winds sent it tumbling.
On Friday, the lumber, some damaged, sat stacked inside a ring of yellow caution tape. The Army National Guard has offered help, but it needs a design plan and materials. Habitat for Humanity was coming Friday afternoon to share its advice.
The Minneluzahan board needs it. It doesn’t know how much of the original materials must be replaced, it has no budget for new materials anyway, and the project is back to square one just as summer is ending.
The board needs an angel wearing a tool belt or contractor’s hat, or several angels with checkbooks.
Anyone who fits that bill should call center Director April Malik at 394-1877 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.