The History of Rotary Park
by Bob Augustin Jr.
Rotarian David Allen presented the program at the February 23, 2007 meeting of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club. The topic of David's presentation was the history of Rotary Park.
The Lawrenceburg Rotary Club became associated with Rotary Park in 1950 when the Lawrence County Livestock Association decided to sell the Lawrence County Fair and Fairview Park, as the land was then known. The Board of Commissioners of Lawrenceburg wanted to perserve Fairview park as a public park and asked the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club to assume the lease of the park. On February 22, 1950, the Rotary Club entered into a lease with the City of Lawreceburg to assume control of Fairview Park. The Rotary Club agreed to pay $3,000 a year, a substanial amount of money in 1950, for the lease of the park. Thus began a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership between the City of Lawrenceburg and the Rotary Club.
Over the next 50 years, the two partners worked together to make many improvements to the park. When the Rotary Club assumed ownership of the Fairview Park in 1950, it consisted of an antiquated swimming pool, the Crystal Plunge, built in the 1930's, a few dilapidated cattle barns, and a primitive grandstand and arena. The Rotary Club proceeded to build new livestock barns, concession buildings, baseball fields, and rename the park, Rotary Park.
In 1974, the City received grants to construct a Community Center which consisted of two buildings which provided new showers, changing area and restrooms for Rotary pool and a multi-purpose space used year round for the City sponsored Youth and Adult sports leagues including basketball, volleyball, and tennis. The building were also used as Commercial and Agricultural buildings by the Rotary Club during the Middle Tennessee District Fair and by the Chamber of Commerce for their annual Christmas in the Country project.
The south grandstand was covered in 1978 and new aluminum bleachers were added to the north side of the arena in 1981. A paved walking track and exercise stations also were constructed in the 1980's.
In 1990, the Rotary Club completely renovated Rotary Pool, investing $200,000 in new decking, pool lining and filtration systems. During this time, two new picnic pavilions and a gazebo were constructed in the park. The old livestock barns were demolished in 1995 and replaced by the new Rotary Livestock Pavilion in 1995 and expanded in 1997. New restrooms facilities were constructed near the sports practice fields and playground. In 1999, the City and the Rotary Club partnered to purchase a water slide for the pool.
The City and the Rotary Club once again combined forces in 2000 to build a new modern playground area, named Fairview Park. The Rotary Club provided over $83,000 to fund the project, and, in tandem with many individuals and community groups, provided the sweat equity to construct the playground. In 2001, the Club added 24-hour security lighting to the playground, arena and other areas of the park.
In 2002, the Club constructed a new Middle Tennessee District Fair Operations Office, consisting of a ticket booths, Customer Service Office and Fair Office, and landscaped the main entrance to provide a green space for the general public. During the early years of the 21st Century, the club purchased four additional lots bordering the park, thereby expanding the area of Rotary Park. In 2004, the Commercial Building received a new roof. To celebrate the Rotary Centennial Year in 2005, Centennial Garden was constructed at the entrance of the Beasley Hall, the club's meeting facility.
In 2006, the Rotary Club made $10,000 in renovations to the restrooms at the covered South Grandstand, installed air-conditioning in the Commercial building ( in partnership with the City of Lawrenceburg and SELETS), built a new parking area, opened a new entrance to the park off of North Military, and constructed special seating in the Grandstands for the handicapped. Over the past two decades, the Rotary Club has invested approximately $2 million in improvements to Rotary Park.