Unveiling Additional Revenue

Providing shade can do more than bring relief to park visitors on a steamy summer afternoon — it can bring in revenue. If done correctly, permanent shade structures — such as pavilions and gazebos — can draw a crowd for family reunions, weddings and out-of-the-office meeting locations.

A pavilion can be a money-maker for your park district.

Prevent Poor Performance

Even though a pavilion typically is a concrete-floored structure with a roof and no walls, that doesn’t mean you can just slap one up anywhere and people will be clamoring to use it. Take the time to plan for not only the site location and surroundings, but also the look and feel of the pavilion.

The design principles for a pavilion are fairly basic, but there are myriad variables that determine what functions will be held in it. For example, no bride worth her salt is going to opt for a reception in a bland-looking pavilion. The pavilion — as well as the surroundings — must have a touch of elegance. Whether the structure is wood or steel, select a design with graceful arches instead of utilitarian straight and rigid lines.

Earth tones for the roof and support beams will warm up the look and feel of the open-air structure as well.

Under Foot

The floor of the structure may be plain-Jane smooth or brushed concrete, but why not select something more interesting, such as stamped concrete? For a fraction of the price and much less maintenance, you can have the look of stone, flagstone, English stone, cobblestone, slate or brick. Not only does the stamping give the concrete the look of stone, slate or brick, but it provides texture as well.

Or select a brick pattern, such as a rattan weave, running bond or herringbone.

Concrete pigments — including brown, red, gray, tan, green and blue — also can be added for a touch of class. Combined, the colors can give a variety of finishes, including red brick, gray slate, blue flagstone, or even travertine marble.

A word of caution — this job may require hiring a professional since concrete is unforgiving, coloring is an art, and a fair amount of equipment is utilized in each process.

For a comparison, consider that stamped concrete costs $8 to $20 per square foot, and a precast brick floor costs $4 to $20 per square foot, while a stone floor begins at $25 per square foot. Installation is somewhat faster than laying natural stone or pavers. Stamped concrete needs to be sealed every other year to protect it against stains, and to maintain the color finish. But there’s no need to worry about weeds during the summer or stones heaving up during the winter.

Warm And Toasty

To bring in the coziness and grandeur of a lodge while also providing heat and a place to roast a few marshmallows, put a fireplace at one end of the pavilion.

The Ingram-White Castle Pavilion at Recreation Unlimited in Ashley, Ohio, includes a stone hearth with three open-gate fronts and a storage area for wood.

“The stone work and fireplace create the look and feel of being in the rugged outdoors,” says David Hudler, business development manager for Recreation Unlimited, a year-round camp for individuals with disabilities and health concerns. “The fireplace increases the pavilion’s year-round usability for groups, especially during semi-inclement weather.”

Inviting Pavilion

Although a pavilion must be accessible to everyone, try not to locate it on a main thoroughfare through the park; it should be easy for incoming guests to find, but still afford a party some semblance of privacy.

To find the perfect location, find the most inviting views on the property. Perhaps there is a view of rolling hills, a forest, a water corridor or a knoll with a large body of water.

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