Gunnison Lions Club buying new shade tents

The Gunnison City Park will be getting a new method of protecting Fourth of July celebration attendees from the heat of the sun through a partnership with the Gunnison Lions Club to replace the old parachute canopies with new modular event tents.


Gunnison Lions Club buying new shade tents


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



GUNNISON—The Gunnison Lions Club made a proposal to the Gunnison City Council to join in a partnership with the club to improve the city park through the addition of large tents which would replace the parachute canopies erected for shade during the Fourth of July celebrations.

The proposal was made at the recent meeting of the council on Wednesday, May 24. As the club president, Dr. Richard Nay acted as their spokesman at the meeting, and there were about a dozen more members in attendance for the proposal.

“There has been some talk in the club about how to improve the park, “said Nay. “One of the suggestions was to replace the old parachutes we’ve put out for shade the last several years.”

Nay said the club had thought some event tents would be a good addition in place of the makeshift parachute canopies, which currently offer about 120’ by 30’ of shade.

Nay said, after looking into what would be involved, the club had discovered there were basically two main options for the sort of event tents that would be optimal.

The difference between the two tent options was that one offered a high peeked center, but accomplished it by having a center pole. The second option was a flatter, less vaulted ceiling tent, but without a large center pole to get in the way or obstruct vision. Nay said both tents came in the option of eight or 10-foot tall walls.

“We think for big events, the 10-foot tall tents would be best,” Nay told the council.

Another important factor to the club was the overall size. They wanted at least 100’ by 40’, and they could get that one of two ways, by either buying a single large 100’ by 40’ tent, or by purchasing two 60’ by 40’ tents that’s connect together if desired.

“Getting the two smaller tents would give a greater degree of flexibility, we think,” Nay said.

Nay said the cost for the tents would be $20,000 to $23,000, depending on which configuration they decided on, but only the less vaulted tent or tents with no center pole could be shipped in a way that could arrive in time for the Fourth of July celebrations.

“We are proposing that our club purchase the tents initially as a community service,” said Nay. “From the auction, we think we could raise $15,000 for them, but we thought we could possibly partner with the city to make up the difference, and possibly even put the money up front if we wanted to make sure we have them on time for this year’s celebrations.”

Nay said if they did purchase a tent or tents to replace the parachute canopies, they could be put in a similar placement as the canopy, and are engineered to withstand a 60 mph wind—the equivalent of a category-one hurricane.

“We see a lot of advantages and flexibility to these tents,” Nay said. “They could be a real asset to the park’s future. We know there are limited resources, but we are hoping the city is willing to partner with us to make it happen.”

Gunnison City Councilman Andy Hill said, “I think it’s a good idea. Fourth of July is a big deal for this town. I think the number one complaint I hear is there isn’t enough shade from the hot sun. Me personally, I think it’s a great idea. We could move it; we might even be able to rent it out.”

Nay said the club raised roughly $14,000 from their Fourth of July auction, but also said they got a late start so they expect to raise more, so the difference the city would have to make up might not be as much as they thought at first.

Councilman Shawn Crane made a motion that the city agreed to partner with the Lions Club and front the cost of the tents so the city could have the tents in time for the Fourth of July Celebrations. As part of the proposal, the Lions would pay back the city through the money raised from the Fourth of July auction, and the city would make up the difference in cost.

Crane’s motion passed unanimously in a vote from the council.