CORUNNA CITY MANAGER JOE SAWYER and Mayor Chuck Kerridge offered a tour of the recent renovations to the Stu Coutts Pavilion on Tuesday, May 18. This view highlights the brand new roof. The large pavilion was constructed in 1977.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
The Stu Coutts Pavilion, located on the north side of the Shiawassee River across from McCurdy Park in Corunna, has seen $80,000 of fresh upgrades from the city and is ready for weddings, reunions and all types of outside celebrations.
In recent years, the city has considered tearing the structure down due to lack of use and because it needed drastic renovations. The large, 100-by-60 foot pavilion dates to 1977 and after over four decades of general wear and weather, it had numerous issues. The adjoining bathrooms were outdated, the roof needed to be replaced, raccoons had laid waste to the ceiling and the concrete floor wasn’t level in areas.
However, in August 2020, with the likelihood of some pandemic-related restrictions staying in place long term, Corunna City Council reevaluated the necessity of salvaging the pavilion and voted for upgrades to save the structure. The forward thinking of the council was that groups of people would be seeking clean, modern and convenient outside gathering locations in the foreseeable future.
“This whole project,” shared Corunna City Manager Joe Sawyer on Tuesday, May 25, “started with COVID-19.” Sawyer stated he believes there is now a “renewed demand for outside facilities.”
“I drove by yesterday and all of the pavilions were in use,” Sawyer said. There are two pavilions located in the McCurdy Park property on the south side of the river. “People are wanting more face-to-face and to just get out and I think there will be a certain amount of carry over of this for decades. It’s like with the kayaking here. People are going nuts with kayaking.”
The city of Corunna recently completed construction on the new canoe and kayak launch directly across the river from the pavilion. Stu Coutts Pavilion is connected to McCurdy Park by a footbridge. The kayak launch was installed Monday, May 10 and has been in near constant use since it opened – including the first-ever Shi-Tri Run/Paddle/Bike triathlon on Sunday, May 23.
Stu Coutts Pavilion is also situated near the Mitchell Park athletic/softball fields, the Owosso/Corunna river trail and offers ample parking. Fifty freshly painted, sturdy picnic tables under the pavilion can accommodate seating for roughly 400, minus pandemic crowd restrictions. Corunna DPW just finished painting all of the tables a light gray to match the pavilion.
The McCurdy Park area already includes disc golf, which Sawyer said, “remains immensely popular.” Along with disc golf, the city recently moved to construct six sets of permanent, marble corn hole boards, which will be located in a fenced area along the western edge of the pavilion. The fenced area will allow for other corn hole boards to be brought in, opening the park up to groups and/or organizations hosting corn hole tournaments.
“But the bathrooms were nasty,” Sawyer said. “We had these old bathrooms.” He described the men’s room urinals as being trough-style and not pleasant. The new bathrooms, both with new entry doors, are freshly painted and updated with hot water available at the sinks. Large mirrors and countertops were added to both restrooms, now providing space for wedding parties to prepare ahead of time. Overhead fans quickly remove excess heat, too.
Other significant pavilion updates include a metal-ribbed ceiling – eliminating any future raccoon activity – and a complete roof replacement. The concrete flooring was lifted in areas, too, with one section replaced to include a drain to accommodate rainwater runoff. The sidewalk was also replaced, offering safer access and gutters were added along the perimeter to keep water from running into the interior of the pavilion. New lighting is in place, as well.
The Stu Coutts Pavilion is one of the largest pavilions available for use in the county. People interested in using the pavilion only need to contact Corunna City Hall to set up a date and pay for a permit. More information is available at (989) 743-3650 or by visiting corunna-mi.gov.
Both Corunna Mayor Chuck Kerridge and Sawyer are pleased with the results of the effort made to save the pavilion. It is their belief that Corunna residents and visitors from all over will be able to enjoy the pavilion for another 30 or more years because of the investment and rehab plan – continuing to bring people into the Corunna community to enjoy the parks and all of the amenities that are available.
Kerridge and Sawyer also emphasized their gratitude to Corunna DPW for their assistance and continued efforts in park maintenance.