Planting a pavilion at city's Dutterer park

More landscaping, benches planned

January 09, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

With the recent construction of a $117,000 brick pavilion, bathrooms and picnic table area, Westminster has finished a phase of Dutterer Family Park, the city's "showcase park."

On Monroe Street near West Middle School, the 6.5-acre park is the result of a "whole consortium of people," said Ron Schroers, the city's director of parks and recreation.

Most of that consortium is the Dutterer family, which saved the property from becoming a 75-unit housing development in 1994.

At the time, Eileen Dutterer Gist decided to benefit the community, especially the children on Pennsylvania Avenue. Her parents, Stewart and Edna Gist, started the family flower business in 1919, and many residents on the west end of town had worked or still work for Stewart N. Dutterer Flower Shop Inc.

Eileen Gist remembered growing up in a neighborhood that offered few places to play.

With a charitable contribution from Gist that put the price of the property within reach - and money from the county's share of Open Space funds - Westminster purchased the tract and park construction began.

"This all happened the summer that the Ravens came," said Thomas B. Beyard, director of planning and public works for Westminster. "I remember because we cleared the site for parking."

Once the NFL Ravens left after completing training for the season at Western Maryland College, "we continued grading the field and things took off from there," Beyard said.

Now, a walking path weaves around Dutterer Family Park. The park also features ball fields, play equipment, park benches, and the new pavilion/picnic table area, which seats 50 people - improvements made in phases.

The pavilion includes bathrooms and rough-in for a concession stand that Schroers said will be completed when activity increases at the park.

By spring, Schroers said the park would have a flagpole, more benches in the brick plaza area and more landscaping.

"The new pavilion is the icing on the cake," said Eileen Gist. "It is located so people can enjoy it and watch their children on the playground at the same time. It has been so rewarding to watch people enjoy the park for a variety of reasons - walking, jogging, skateboarding."

"This is the legacy that the Gist family wanted," Beyard said. "They not only owned the property, but they also still watch over it and enjoy it. How fitting that the park is named in the Dutterers' honor."

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