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River Mill Park band shell to be renamed after late Rotarian Ross Kirwin

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The band shell in Huntsville’s River Mill Park will be renamed in honour of a late Rotarian.

Kirwin passed away in April, and was remembered by many for his extensive volunteer service in the community.

“From the day he joined to the day he died he was totally involved, that was his commitment,” says Peter Redwood of the The Rotary Club of Huntsville, a close friend of Kirwin’s. “He did pretty near everything we had tackled. There isn’t a project that you can name where it doesn’t have Ross’ influence on it. He’s the kind of guy that could get things done, could get people to cooperate, could get people to help.”

Redwood appeared before Huntsville town council in person Tuesday night, requesting permission to rename the structure to the “Ross Kirwin Band Shell” at no expense to the town.

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He proposed placing the name on either a ground level plaque, or on the structure’s archway, which he says is more visible and unlikely to be vandalized.

According to Redwood, Kirwin was instrumental to both the conception and construction of the structure, which was completed in the summer of 2015. Redwood shared a story of how the two of them drove “donor bricks” to Alliston, Ontario, a car full at a time to raise the money needed to complete the project.

Redwood says the choice to not include “memorial” in the name is intentional.

“I think the word ‘memorial’ means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I want the public to know that this was Ross Kirwin’s dream,” says Redwood. “We don’t call it the ‘Don Lough Memorial Arena.’ At the board level and on the discussion level, we decided we would not include that word. We just wanted to honour the gentleman and what he did.”

Councillors took turns expressing their support for the idea and sharing fond memories of Kirwin before approving the proposal unanimously.

Redwood says the renaming will likely be done in the summer, sometime after Kirwin’s celebration of life in early June.

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