Jazz In the Canyon
Jazz in the Canyon was created by Chris Scholes, Ran by and setup Jody Tremblay and Mark Koffer
"A Rotary Surprise in
Twin Falls, Idaho"
Rotary has a thousand stories, and this is one—one our family happened on to last summer on vacation. Flying into Salt Lake City, we rented a car for the rest of the trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. With a five-hour drive in front of us, our vacation-planning daughter had made reservations for us to spend the night in Twin Falls, Idaho, which was halfway to our destination. When we checked into our hotel, we asked the clerk if there was anything special we should see that evening after dinner. Our daughter had done some research on the town and had learned about Shoshone Falls, called the "Niagara of the West." We were saving that sight for the next morning.
The clerk said"Sure you need to
go to Centennial Park." Twin Falls is a unique town, perched on the edge of a deep canyon. You know how canyons are often hidden and you unexpectedly come upon them. That is what had happened as we crossed the bridge on Highway 93, at the edge of the town. We looked down and gasped, "Wow, THIS is a canyon" (It is 486 feet from the Perrine Bridge to the Snake River below.)
We were told that Centennial Park
was at the bottom of the canyon by the edge of the river. With directions to the entry road, after dinner, we wound our way back and forth down the canyon wall until we came to Centennial Park, The only broad stretch of land we could see that was level with the river. A nice wide area, it was inviting—plenty of
parking; a large, attractive pavilion; picnic tables scattered around; a children's play area; and a couple of boat docks, with people out in the river in kayaks and canoes.
We spied a large granite marker and walked over to see what it said. Was I delighted when I saw the familiar Rotary wheel and read that the Centennial Waterfront Park was a Rotary project. Dedicated in 1992,
words engraved in the granite included that this park, "provides a recreation. resource for present and future generations. It is a living memorial
to those hundreds of citizens who donate time and resources without recognition."
Wanting to learn more, a few weeks ago I called a Twin Falls Rotarian, who told me the story of the park's beginning. One of his fellow Rotarians had discovered that the privately-owned land was going to be developed fox cut off the only free access to the river adjacent to the town. The Rotarian went to the County Commissioners to ask,
if the Rotary Club raised the money
to purchase the land and gave it to the county, would the county maintain it as a park? The commissioners agreed, and the Rotarians were off and running.
Their first fundraiser purchased the land and built the boat docks. Their second, a few years later, built the pavilion. The county added its share of amenities, and the park became a center for boating, picnicking, weddings, receptions, jazz festivals, and a place to enjoy the grandeur of the canyon. With its location including a good view of the beautifully arched Perrine Bridge, BASE jumping capital of the world, Centennial Park is everything the TwinFalls Rotary Club and that first Rotarian envisioned. It opened river enjoyment to townspeople and visitors—and in greater numbers than ever before. A salute to an outstanding Rotary project—a great success story!
Published Oklahoma Rotary Newsletter October 30, 2012