Renovations to the Leon Young Pavilion, pictured here in July 2018, are underway. The Hillside neighborhood rallied to renovate the structure that was named in honor of the city’s first, and only, black mayor. [Courtesy photo/Colorado Springs Independent/Matthew Schniper/file]

Rehabilitation project kicks off at South Shooks Run Park 

Rehabilitation of the Leon Young Pavilion in South Shooks Run Park began last week and is expected to be completed by the end of April.

The pavilion is named after Colorado Springs’ first and only black mayor, and its rehabilitation is being led by the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department. The effort includes the removal of half of the existing pavilion structure, though some vertical posts and overhead pieces that were inspected and deemed structurally sound will remain on-site as an homage to the original structure.

Previous amenities of the pavilion, such as picnic pads, tables, benches, trash cans and lighting fixtures will either be removed or replaced. New elements such as an electrical receptacle, a concrete pad for a portable toilet, and an accessible walkway, will be installed for the pavilion to accommodate small events.

The pavilion has long been a hallmark of the Hillside neighborhood in Southeast Colorado Springs. For nearly two years, Hillside community members rallied around it in an effort to preserve Young’s legacy, and create a unique, new community space.

Activists and advocates organized block parties and gathered neighborhood feedback on what they wanted to see. The overwhelming response, they said as early as July 2018, was to demolish the pavilion and rebuild it into something new.

They also garnered letters of support from neighborhood education, faith and preservation leaders, including  the Living Word Baptist Church, Concrete Couch, the Legacy Institute, the Colorado Trust, Colorado Springs Food Rescue and Catholic Charities, among others.

Concurrent to the pavilion rehabilitation, a community effort is incorporating a memorial to Young. The two efforts are funded by a federal community development block grant of $150,000, and $37,500 from The Colorado Trust.


Southeast Express reporter Faith Miller contributed to this article, which first appeared, in part, in the March 11 Colorado Springs Independent.


Zach Hillstrom is a Colorado Springs native and graduate of Colorado State University-Pueblo. He has worked as a reporter for Southern Colorado print outlets since 2015.