According to a press release, the new Peace Pavilion for the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell will be dedicated in a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 20, at the bell’s new site in A.K. Bissell Park. The bell’s sound will resonate for the first time from its new location that evening, from a pavilion designed to project harmony, stability, innovation, and peace.
Among those taking part in the dedication ceremony will be Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, City Manager Mark Watson, and Hiroyuki Kobayashi, consul-general of Japan in Nashville, as well as co-chairs of the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee, Pat Postma and Alan Tatum. An ensemble from the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association will provide music. The community is invited to attend, the press release said.
More than $800,000 has been raised for the Peace Pavilion, with the first contributions coming from Oak Ridge’s sister city of Naka, Japan, and from the Girl Scouts Oak Ridge Service Unit, which has established friendships with Girl Scouts in Naka.
The bell, created for Oak Ridge’s 50th birthday, is being installed in its new Peace Pavilion during Oak Ridge’s 75th anniversary. It will bring its message of international peace and friendship to the thousands of visitors expected at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, the press release said.
The new pavilion for the bell came about after Oak Ridge officials discovered that structural beams in the original bell house had severely deteriorated. The bell was removed from its housing and placed on timbers in A.K. Bissell Park in 2014.
The City of Oak Ridge tasked the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board with making short-term and long-term recommendations, the press release said. A decision was made to demolish the original pavilion. The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Advisory Board formed the ad hoc International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a new pavilion design and raise funds for the project.