Archive » April 7, 2011
CENTENNIAL PLAZA REACHES NEW HEIGHTS
By Isaiah Brookshire, Staff Writer
On one of the hottest days of the year, dozens gather to see the highest beam raised on Solvang’s Centennial Plaza. In the Danish tradition of Rejsegilde (pronounced ray-suh-gild), or literally “rising party,” the city council joined the public as workers from Mendez Concrete carefully placed a large wooden beam across the top of the plaza structure, along with an evergreen wreath atop a post.
The March 31 event marked a significant milestone in the project that has been years in the making. Besides enjoying the ever-present array of goodies available at Solvang events like kringle, cookies (some with the centennial logo), cheese and fruit; the Solvang council along with representatives from the Centennial Committee, Elverhøj Museum, and the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau took time to thank those involved with the effort. When that was done, everyone grabbed a glass of sparkling cider and sang a Danish toast of blessing for the city’s project.
Once completed, the plaza is set to feature a large, shaded area where travelers moving into the downtown area from the nearby parking lot will be able to gather information about the city displayed on a series of panels. It will also feature seating along with live plants, and the work is expected to be completed sometime in early May.
Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson said, “It looks better than it did on paper. I know it will be a great attraction.” He said he hoped it could be a place for both locals and visitors to rest and even come together. He told the project’s architect, David Goldstien: “It’s good to see what you put down on paper come to life.”
During the ceremony, Tracy Farhad, Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau executive director, appealed to the public to help fund the remainder of the project. To save the money on the project, which cost almost $250,000, the council decided to only build the basic structure using city money and raise funds for the rest. Items that still needed to be donated included three informational kiosk, two benches, two bike posts, a bike rack, a trash can, a pair of post carvings and refinishing work on two existing benches.
Said Richardson: “I, for one, will be donating to the completion of the plaza. I’d ask everyone to join with me to make the plaza a resounding success we will be proud of for years to come.” Anyone who donates more than $500 will have their name inscribed at the site and be recognized when the plaza is dedicated.