FSU Architecture program designs pavilion for Idlewild

IDLEWILD — Nationally-acclaimed for its historic significance as a popular resort town for African-Americans during times of segregation, Idlewild draws visitors from all over.

An elaborately designed pavilion showcasing historical information pertinent to the community's rich heritage is now available for visitors and residents to enjoy, thanks to a group of designers from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

This project was first planned in 2017. Pat Williams, CEO of Idlewild Community Development Corporation (ICDC) collaborating with the Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce (IAACC) President Jim Marbury and Vice President Janet Meeks-Martin, partnered with the architecture students, who designed and donated the pavilion.

The cement for the pavilion was poured on Aug. 12, and the pavilion itself was finally completed on Aug. 14, at site in front of the Chamber of Commerce building located at 870 E. MLK Drive.

Wiliams explained there were a few roadblocks since 2017 which delayed completion, such as the professor who began the project moving to another job, and then disruptions with COVID-19. Professor Michael McCulloch of Kendal College of Art and Design of FSU picked up the project, and carried it to completion

"This is the first new thing Idlewild has had in a while," Williams said. "John Meeks and I provided information to Ferris for the displays. We were able to get a few of the designers together who worked on the pavilion on Saturday for a luncheon, and even a student who began working on it in 2017, but moved on, attended to see the completed work. She did a lot of the beautiful designs."

"We want people who drive by to know what this pavilion is and how it came about. I am so excited. I've been waiting for this and was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen. When I heard Prof. McCulloch pinpoint a date for completion, I was elated. It is a beautiful building. A lot of work has been put into it."

Marbury congratulates the original designers and builders of the pavilion: alumni Nick Van Berlo, Jade Heiler, Melissa Nappu, Huaming Wang and instructor Paul Long.

"The decision was made to put this structure in front of the Chamber of Commerce building in Idlewild, which would aid in supplying visitors coming into the community with literature about historic Idlewild and Lake County. The township and community thinks this is a great concept," Marbury said. "We hope to improve on it with some type of lights so it would illuminate at night. Thanks to the community for all the positive support. Now what's next...?"

Williams said the ICDC has been around since 2010, providing community development services such as sending Christmas boxes to those in the military, making baskets for seniors in nursing homes, and a variety of other projects.

"We work behind the scenes, but we do quite a lot. We have been around a while, but are looking to do more. Right now, though, we are excited about this pavilion - something tangible. We hope this stimulates others to get things happening in Idlewild."