Dickinson's new Veterans Pavilion is expected to open in February and is taking bookings and reservations for March.

The roughly $850,000 facility is located in Memorial Park, on Fairway Ave.

"The pavilion project had a couple of hiccups early on in the construction," James Kramer, Dickinson parks director, said. "We were waiting on some of the glulam beams, so it is a little bit delayed, but right now it's on pace to be completed and opened end of February."

Art Wanner, Stark County Veterans Memorial Committee member, said it is exciting to see the pavilion near completion.

"It's been a project we've looked forward to for a long time, and it's finally going to happen," Wanner said.

Already, there has been community interest in the new pavilion.

"People are looking to book their events," he said. "The facility will be very similar to the Heart River Retreat, as far as what we can book and what we can do in it, but it will be slightly bigger and have a few more amenities."

The pavilion can hold as many as 150 people, and boasts a warming kitchen, public and exterior restrooms, and mediation area.

Dickinson's veterans groups have been the driving force behind the memorial, Kramer said.

"They don't have a place to call home for their meetings. It ended up being kind of driven by that," he said. "There's probably five or six groups that meet monthly or every so often."

He added, "They raised the money. It was their dream."

The pavilion is a welcome addition to Memorial Park, Kramer said.

"It really ties the whole area up there together," he said. "It's a really neat area to have in the middle of your community like that."

With the facility enclosed, contractor Kolling & Kolling Inc. of Dickinson will focus on the interior, Kramer said.

"They're trying to get all the exterior stuff done while the weather is cooperating," he said. "The last two months will be really focusing on the interior: the carpeting, the paint, the plumbing and electrical. Things like that."

Kramer, too, is excited about the completion of the project.

"This has been a dream and vision of theirs for over two years," he said. "For them to go out and raise that amount of money and design it and be a part of the whole process, it was really an honor to be part of working with that group to see it through."

Wanner hopes the new pavilion will be well used by the community.

"It's the perfect setting for small family reunions, veteran get-togethers, funerals for veterans. We may have receptions there," he said. "It can serve a lot of good purposes, and it's just an ideal location for meetings and any type of get-together."