Verbena gazebo being disassembled

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, June 21, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The iconic gazebo in the Verbena community is being taken down to resolve ongoing safety and property concerns.

The salvageable pieces of the gazebo will be saved. An exact location for storage has not been determined.

Efforts to keep the Verbena gazebo in a highly visible space in town have been unsuccessful.

The gazebo was built in 1985 by men in the community, and the property had been leased by the Verbena Historical Society for $1 a year.

Mary Kate Weir, community and Verbena Historical Society member, said the property owner “had been gracious” to allow the structure to remain there and be used by the community for more than 30 years.

Safety concerns by the Historical Society led to the gazebo being closed off.

The lease agreement with the property owner was ended in 2017 by the Historical Society because of concerns about paying for the electricity for lights and liability insurance. According to the lease agreement, the gazebo was required to be moved within 60 days because then land was private property.

Funds from the now dismantled Verbena Historical Society will be used to remove the structure, according to Weir.

After the agreement with the property owner ended, some hoped to purchase the property the gazebo sat on or relocate it.

Weir said in December she was willing to have the gazebo placed on her property across the street from its current location. However, she is anticipating selling that part of her property and feels this would not be a good option.

Weir hopes to continue discussions with the Confederate Memorial Park about the gazebo possibly being located at the park.

“We would love to see it go there,” Weir said.

An event held around Christmastime last year, which featured Judson Messer as Santa, raised a little more than $300.

It was one of his final wishes before he died, Weir said, that if the gazebo could not be relocated and preserved that the funds be given to the Chilton County Sheriff’s Operation Santa Claus.

The money is in an account in Weir’s name that she set up specifically for donations to save the gazebo. Weir intends to honor Messer’s wish.