Service organizations aren’t just about lunch these days.
The new peaked roof skimming the tree line at Burnes Park is proof of that, said Hopkins Rotary President John Anderson.
The club built the new shelter this year, replacing an older one. Anderson said the hands-on construction project was a concrete way to improve the city park’s landscape and spur interest in the service club, often synonymous with weekly lunch meetings.
“We want people to drive by and say, ‘I want to be part of that,’ ” Anderson said. “We are looking to rebrand ourselves a bit. We want to help the community and for people to recognize we are a hands-on group.”
The new shelter is steps away from a playground. The Rotary’s seal embedded in the concrete slab will hopefully get park visitors more curious about the Rotary and its mission, members says.
“Like any club, we struggle a bit to be attractive to people. We’ve been right around 40 members for the past two or three years. At one time, there were 135 members in our club in the 1990s,” Anderson said. “[Service clubs] are going on tradition.”
Clinging to tradition can be detrimental, though, he said. “You have to always be evolving and changing.”
The Hopkins Rotary raised $20,000 to complete the project and collected another $20,000 worth of service and supply donations from vendors and companies. The city kicked in $25,000.
“Each Rotary Club creates its own sort of independent personality. Our club has tried to be a doing club and not a check-writing club,” said Randy Travalia, co-chairman of the park shelter project.
Anderson, who owns the light commercial and resident remodeling firm J.R. Anderson Construction Co., co-managed the project along with Travalia and Rotarian Del Smith. Hopkins Rotarian and architect Andre LaTondresse designed the project.
Rotarians worked evenings and weekends constructing the shelter. They finished early this summer, and Travalia was pleased to see residents immediately start using it.
“It’s very well used and that’s gratifying,” Travalia said. “It should be there a long, long time after I am gone.”