Manchester Rotary Club to Dedicate Pavilion to Michael B. Lynch & Kick Off Rotary in Motion
On Saturday, October 3, 2020 the Manchester Rotary Club will be hosting Rotary in Motion, a community outing for people of all abilities, in addition to the celebration of the long-anticipated dedication of the Michael B. Lynch Memorial Pavilion at Charter Oak Park. The Rotary in Motion event is hosted by the rotary clubs of Manchester, East Hartford, and Vernon in partnership with Bike Walk Bolton and the East Coast Greenway Alliance. Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) is sponsoring this event for the 2nd annual time with SAG support provided by Manchester Cycle, Farr’s Sporting Goods, and the Bike Shop.
The celebration will begin at 8:45 AM with the performance of jazz music by the Dukes of Bourbon Street, an ensemble of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra. The dedication of the pavilion will then begin at 9 AM with words from Mayor Jay Moran, Senator Steve Cassano, Manchester Rotary President Lucy Hurston, and Mike Lynch Jr., the naming sponsor and son of Michael B. Lynch Sr.
Michael B. Lynch is remembered throughout the Manchester community as both the founder of the Lynch Toyota dealership in town as well as a dedicated member of the Manchester Rotary Club. The Town of Manchester and Rotary Club agreed that the rotary would raise funds to develop a pavilion next to the Rotary Music Garden in Charter Oak Park, which had been built 2 years prior, in the name of Michael B. Lynch. The successful fundraising was thanks to the naming sponsor Mike Lynch Jr., the Rotary Club, Highland Park Community Foundation, and private donations from rotary members. Around $65,000 were raised to pay for the pavilion and the group will continue to raise funds, although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed their ability to fundraise this year.
The dedication of the pavilion was also delayed due to the unforeseen pandemic, but was fully constructed and available for use this past spring and summer. Ironically, construction of the pavilion began around the time of the first annual Rotary in Motion last October, explained Rob Rodner of the Manchester Rotary Club, with construction equipment blocking their usual parking spaces. This year, the club decided to combine the dedication of the pavilion and the 2nd annual Rotary in Motion, making the event a two-for-one on the same day. The Rotary Club hopes that the early fall timing will allow for more people to come out and participate in a safe way. The event also provides a chance for residents to get outside, get some exercise, and come together as a community, a particularly great opportunity especially after the cancellation of the annual Manchester Road Race.
Following the dedication, the jazz music performance will resume and registration will open for the Rotary in Motion event, which is entirely free to the community. The annual event was conceived 3 years ago by then president of Manchester Rotary Club, Rob Rodner, and Bill O’Neill, trail advocate and former East Coast Greenway Alliance trustee. The Rotary Club was looking for a way to bring several local town rotary clubs together in a single event and to do something more visible for the community.
Previously, the rotary had run an event called Bike Connect with ECHN that garnered a lot of success and raised money for nursing scholarships. With the ending of Bike Connect, the group was looking for a new way to bring the community together and raise support. Bill O’Neill wanted to collaborate on an event involving rotary that also showcased all of the beautiful bike and hike trails throughout Manchester and neighboring towns. Together, the Manchester Rotary Club and O’Neill, representing the CT Greenways Alliance, have worked together the past three years to create Rotary in Motion. The overall goal of the event is to celebrate mobility in all of its forms.
Attendees have a variety of ways to participate, regardless of ability. The most visible aspect, the bike event, will offer two different route options and will include adaptive trikes. Ken Messier from Ti-Trikes will be in attendance, providing a display of adaptive trikes at the park.
The routes will begin at Charter Oak Park and participants can choose either the 28-mile gold route, which involves an additional loop to Wickham Park, or the 17-mile blue route, which cuts north through the middle of town and follows the Hop River Trail. The Manchester Police Department bike squad will be riding along with participants in support and to provide additional safety. Volunteer staff will be located at intersections to remind people to take safety precautions as well as at four different rest stops along the route: Wickham Park, Center Springs Park, Church St. in Vernon, and Bolton Notch State Park. Molly Devanney of Highland Park Market will have refreshments set up outside the store at the top of Highland Street for bikers as well as joggers or walkers when they reach that point.
Kevin Sullivan, from Cycling Without Age, will be pedaling a rickshaw and providing tours throughout Charter Oak Park, of which the first ride will be reserved for Senator Steve Cassano. In addition, there will be a golf cart tour taking people up to the Highland Park Market refreshment area following along the bike trail route. Joggers, hikers, and pet walkers will also head east from Charter Oak Park toward Highland Park Market. The event will also be open to wheelchair participants.
Rotary in Motion t-shirts will also be sold this year and can be purchased for $20. Keep an out for the volunteers staffed along the routes who will be wearing these eye-grabbing t-shirts. This year’s event would not be possible without the assistance and hard work of around 35 volunteer staff, all of who returned this year to participate.
Event organizers and attendees are looking forward to a beautiful fall day that not only celebrates the life of Michael B. Lynch and his contributions to Manchester as well as the rotary club, but also offers the opportunity for people of all abilities to appreciate the outdoors and feel reconnected with the local community.