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Kingston dedicates pavilion to employees

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By The Staff

By TERRI LIKENS

tlikens@roanecounty.com

It was a classic Willie Gordon comment.

After a glowing commendation from Kingston Mayor Troy Beets for fire chief’s leading role in building the new pavilion at City Park, Beets declared that the kitchen will forever be known as the Willie Gordon Kitchen.

“At least it’s not the bathroom,” Gordon drawled in response.

The pavilion was opened and dedicated at ceremonies Friday that were tied in with the annual Kingston city employees annual picnic.

“This is absolutely a banner day,” Beets said as he welcomed the hundreds of people in attendance.

City staff made up only a small portion of the crowd. Many others were donors, people who had worked on the project and area notables.

Political candidates were also present in large numbers, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter.

The huge brick pavilion beside the lake was largely built with donations and money earned by city employees through bake sales and other events, raising around $80,000 in money, supplies and more.

Beets gave credit where credit was due.

In a long list of praises and proclamations, he declared the new facility will be named the Employees Pavilion, and in honor of their efforts, July 2 shall forever be designated Employees Day in Kingston.

“This is really something,” Gordon said. “I know one person in the audience who built the first building — Henry Wattenbarger.”

The building easily held the several hundred who gathered on the hot summer day.

The brick pavilion features an arched, wood-paneled ceiling, stone-like flooring and ample kitchen and restroom facilities.

Beets said at a recent meeting of municipal officials in Gatlinburg, others were declaring Kingston city employees’ efforts “unheard of.”

They lined up for a classic picnic lunch of hamburgers, chicken, chips and more, then settled in to do what the pavilion was built for — eat and socialize.