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Big day of activities planned for Levee Park grand re-opening May 26

Last November, the City of Hastings hired Paige Marschall to fill a brand new position. Marschall is the city’s recreation programming specialist, and she’s been working hard to put together a full program of activities for the upcoming grand reopening of Veterans Memorial Levee Park on the Hastings RiverWalk.

Marschall’s job was created to program events for the newly built Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park. The structure can serve multiple uses, and Marschall has been putting together a summer full of options for the pavilion’s inaugural year.

Since she started, she has also taken on other responsibilities within the parks department. She’s now also the department’s administrative assistant and recycling coordinator, and she also helps the sports coordinator on certain community events, including the youth safety camp and after hours skate nights.

One of the department’s goals, she said, is to expand public programming, not just at Levee Park but also at the other parks around the city.

But first, they want to celebrate the massive improvements made along the riverfront.

Marschall has lined up a full schedule for the park’s grand reopening event, which is planned for Thursday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The celebration will start with three formal speeches; they will presented by Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks, a member of the Hastings Rotary Club and National Parks Service Superintendent John Anfinson.

Starting at 4:30 p.m., the River Valley Band, Hastings’ community band, will perform a selection of songs, all with a common river theme.

Alan Johnson, a comedy juggler, will perform at 5 p.m. Johnson has performed for audiences at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, in New York and Los Angeles comedy clubs, at colleges, trade shows, cruise ships, churches and scouting events all across the nation and world.

Rounding out the evening will be a performance by Bridgeport, a local classic rock band.

A formal ribbon cutting will also be part of the day, and there will be giveaways for the first 500 people to attend. The Hastings Lions Club will be serving free hot dogs until supplies run out, and the city will provide some free food and water for the public during the event as well. RiverCity PopCorn Company will be on site selling popcorn. For the kids, there will be two bounce houses, face painting stations and balloons.

All the events will be held at the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park. The park’s address is 20 Ramsey St., Hastings.

Marschall said the event is designed to bring people down to the newly renovated park, to encourage the public to use the new features and facilities there, and to also visit the rest of the downtown businesses.

“We’re excited to share the new space,” she said.

The event is open to everyone – families, residents and visitors alike.

“The more the merrier,” Marschall said.

The final touches on park construction, including the installation of a sound system at the pavilion and landscaping throughout the park, will be finished prior to the event.

There will be street construction downtown during this event. The intersection of Sibley and Second streets will be closed, but the park will still be accessible via Ramsey Street and Tyler Street. Visitors to the event are encouraged to use public parking lots and on-street parking. Signs and detours will be posted throughout the downtown area.

Kick-off to summer

The grand reopening is also a hint of what’s yet to come. Marschall has been busy lining up several events throughout the rest of the summer. Between June and September, the park will host youth programs, a concert series, music in the park, art in the park, fitness in the park, movies in the park and nature camps. Look for more details on the summer schedule in late May or early June.

The pavilion is also available for private event rental, and Marschall already has a number of those events scheduled as well.

For more about city programs or pavilion rental, contact Marschall at 651-480-6182 or pmarschall@hastingsmn.gov.

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