It has been the centerpiece for thousands of events, and now it has something extra – something to provide handicap access to the second story.
For those who have not been upstairs in the pavilion, it is a beautiful space. The 60-foot diameter floor is open, without any supporting posts needed to hold up the ceiling.
The design is a tribute to the pavilion’s original architect, Thomas Sully. If that space could talk, it could tell more about Abita’s history than has been compiled in all of the books, newspaper articles, and photos regarding the building and what has happened there.
Many old-timers reminisce about dances that were held there on a regular basis. The pavilion has hosted art showings, birthday parties, and PTA functions just to name a few. Some folks use it to get a bird’s-eye view the activities and musical performances at the several festivals taking place at the trailhead. It is also a nice place to just go and look at the surrounding scenery.
The pavilion has been all of that and more, but for the past 126 years, it has been prohibitive for anyone suffering from a handicap to fully enjoy what it has to offer. That will change, however, in just a few weeks when a lift is installed to allow access for anyone who wants to enjoy the pavilion’s upper floor.
As has been the story for the entire trailhead and parks improvement, the Town of Abita Springs, operating on a limited budget, had to be creative in finding funding to make the project happen. The $20,000 for the lift will be provided through the Louisiana LGAP (Local Government Assistance Program) that was previously named the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program.
With the assistance of our legislative delegation, Rep. Scott Simon, and Sen. Ben Nevers, the money came through and the lift will be transporting folks who need assistance to a beautiful spot that, until now, had been impossible for them to reach
The lift will be enclosed within an ancillary structure, connected by a short elevated walkway that also provides an auxiliary stairway into the second floor. The building was designed to compliment the pavilion while providing the functions of providing handicap access and a secondary access.
Local architect David Spicuzza, who has been involved in the design and has drafted all of the detailed drawings necessary for all of the elements at the trailheadon a voluntary basis designed, drew the plans and has overseen the completion of the new structure.
The Abita Springs trailhead and park improvements have been accomplished with a lot of energy, creativity, and people who have given of themselves to improve our town and help it to be what it always has been, a place where locals and visitors alike can enjoy, and feel that they are in a special place.