To Michael Porro, yesterday’s grand opening celebration of the Sugar Bowl Pavilion was the completion of a dream. Porro, who is a member of the Board of Friends of Wilmington Parks, grew up playing with his brothers and sisters at Brandywine Park and the iconic Sugar Bowl Pavilion. Now, after 10 years of hard work and a $650,000 fundraising campaign, the renovated Pavilion and it’s 40-foot domed roof is as good as new.
“This project took so long that it went through three [Friends of Wilmington Parks] executive directors and three [Division of Parks and Recreation] Park directors,” said Porro at Sunday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. With catered food, beer, and a five-piece band, Sunday’s event was the first occasion the community could enjoy what the Pavilion stood for for decades before falling into disrepair after Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
In addition to the new dome, the structure’s concrete deck has been replaced and the stone wall rebuilt. There is also wheelchair access and new electric and lighting. The pavilion will be used for community and family gatherings, ceremonies, concerts, theatrical performances, park programming and historic interpretation.
“We are again realizing the dream of the park commissioners of a multifunctional observatory for generations to enjoy,” said Porro.