New gazebo a ‘wonderful addition’ to downtown

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2001

News Editor

It was a day of dreams in downtown Troy as the gazebo, the newest addition to the square, was dedicated.

It has been a dream for the city of Troy for years to develop and revitalize the downtown area, and when Gertrude Stephens donated the gazebo for the square the city was a little closer to achieving that dream.

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"Nothing can be accomplished until you start dreaming," said Jim Roling, emcee of the event.

Stephens donated the gazebo to the city in memory of her husband, the late Otis Stephens. Mr. Stephens was the former owner of the Building Business of Henderson Black and Green. Mrs. Stephens is well known throughout the community for her landscaping and gardening. An active member of First Presbyterian Church, she is the building a grounds coordinator. Mrs. Stephens is also an active member of the Troy Women’s Club.

"Mrs. Stephens has wanted to do something for the city for a long time," said Earl Ellis, owner of Landmark realty, located on the square.

Ellis said when Mrs. Stephens heard the Downtown Revitalization Committee wanted to build a gazebo on the square, she knew that was where she wanted to help.

"I was talking to Martha Ellis one day and we talked about how nice it would be to have a gazebo on the square for people to sit in and at the parades," Mrs. Stephens said. "With the Christmas tree the square looks great, but when they take it down the square looks vacant. Now with the gazebo people can come out and meet, like today.

Mrs. Stephens was born in Pike County, but has lived many different places over the years, but promised if she ever came back to Troy she would never leave. True to her word, Mrs. Stephens has remained in Troy, making it her home. The gazebo was her gift to the community.

"I hope everyone enjoys the gazebo as much as I enjoyed giving it," she said.

Johnny Witherington, president of the Troy City Council, was grateful to Mrs. Stephens and her generosity.

"It’s people like Mrs. Stephens who step forward and give freely of what God blesses them with," Witherington said. "It’s people like her that make Troy what it is today. We appreciate Mrs. Stephens."

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford echoed Witherington’s sentiments and offered a personal thank you to Mrs. Stephens.

"What a wonderful addition to the square," he said.

Marsha Gaylard of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce also thanked Mrs. Stephens for the contribution to the square.

"This is a wonderful addition," Gaylard said. "We want to invite everyone to come out to the Brown Bag Lunch on the Square that the chamber sponsors and take advantage of the new gazebo."

Johnny and Christine Barron provided music for the dedication ceremony while everyone enjoyed fresh lemonade, refreshments and brown bag lunches.