DDD plans a pavilion project for community events

The Hammond Downtown Development District is working to build a pavilion slated to be completed by the end of the year.

“It gets slapped with the name farmers market pavilion a lot, but it’s really a community pavilion,” said DDD Assistant Director and Farmers Market Manager Olivia Graziano. “This is gonna be a place where you can gather for birthday parties, just a party to hang out. We’re gonna try to do some live music there. It’s really gonna be a place where the community can gather downtown to not only enjoy the space but to enjoy each other.”

The pavilion is set to be located behind the Downtown Development District building, where the farmers market is held on Saturdays. DDD plans to rework the space, such as moving the monuments and changing diagonal parking to parallel parking.

“We’re keeping all of the trees and things intact, but that’s kind of the idea right now, keep it where the market is right now,” said Graziano. “We kind of have a good thing going right here. The vendors call it market magic if you will. So, we thought it was a great space, and considering the other spaces we had been working with, we kind of hit some walls with those. It just made the most sense to keep it over here.”

Although a part of the DDD’s master plan since 2002, the pavilion project was “revamped and revitalized” to make more headway this year. Graziano discussed what is left to complete for the pavilion project.




“Now that we have a location and we have, not final renderings but a really concrete rendering that’s been approved by the city and the historic district, we really have to just get some CDs sent out,” said Graziano. “We have to get some bids. We have to go through three contractors at least to make sure we’re getting the best price. From there, we’re gonna break ground hopefully in the next couple of months, then from there, it should take about six or seven months. We’re really hoping to get this project completed this year, but early next year at the very latest we think.”

The project is not expected to significantly impact passing traffic.

“There’s gonna be some work trucks located around here,” said Graziano. “Like I said, we’re reworking that space so the diagonal parking will shift to parallel. In doing so, you’re gonna lose two parking spaces there. To kind of counterbalance that, we are creating parking elsewhere, which is gonna increase spots by much more than two spots. Those are the only road blockages or parking things you’re going to see really.”

Part of the challenge in the pavilion project has been working with other groups.

“We have to not just keep like the DDD’s or the city’s best interest in mind but also the historic district,” said Graziano. “We follow the historic district. So, we need their blessing of course. The Cate family, the heirs actually own that property, and they kind of gave it back to the city. So, we had to get their blessing as well to make sure that we could use that space in a way that they approve of, and of course, we have to go through the community and just make sure that this is a pavilion for them, just make sure we get all of their wants and needs. And everything that they picture when they picture a pavilion, we want to make sure that they see that when we do the final project, when it’s completed.”

Graziano discussed her part in the pavilion project.

“I’m excited about being a part of this,” said Graziano. “I kind of walked into the plans as a work in progress, and it’s been an awesome experience to see all the steps that it’s taken. A lot goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know or always appreciate, and I’m really proud to say that I had a hand in the market pavilion as I think my colleagues would say as well.”

Graziano shared what else was part of the DDD’s master plan. 

“They also talked about connecting downtown with Southeastern more, via walkways, just connecting with the school and the students itself,” said Graziano. “That’s something we’ve done as well. We’ve taken a lot of the points of that master plan, and we’ve dropped them into our strategic plan that we just revamped last year. We’re just gonna revitalize that as well this fiscal year, so just kind of reworking that since it is a little dated just to make sure everything that’s on it is either still relevant or we’re making it relevant.”