Palo Duro Canyon State Park celebrates new group pavilion

Some 200 people from around the area made their way down into Palo Duro Canyon State Park Thursday afternoon but not for the usual hiking, biking or camping activities. It was to get the first look at the brand new group pavilion just built in the canyon.

The Mack Dick Group Pavilion is named after Amarillo businessman and large contributor to the project, Mack Dick. Dick attended Thursday's ribbon cutting for the ceremony and said he hopes others in the future will enjoy the park and the Pavilion as much as he has over the years.

"I love the park and I think so much of this community, I really do," he said. "I wanted to do something for the community."

That's exactly what he did, according to Executive Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife, Carter Smith. The space will be used as a rental space, they hope, for weddings, reunions, birthday parties, corporate meetings or even just a group meeting place for friends.

"We really haven't had a group use facility where large groups, families can gather and come together to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Canyon," said Smith. "To get together in a place where they can eat and recreate and enjoy one another's company and just take in the beauty of the Canyon and today, Mr. Dick helped make that possible."

The 4,080 square foot facility can be found at the bottom of the State Park, just across from the Amphitheater where the annual drama "Texas" is performed every summer. A space unlike any that have been built in recent years and one Mack hopes will be used and loved by others as much as it is by him.

"I hope it's frequently used because I enjoy the park so much and I hope others also do."

Judging by the already growing list of renters, Smith was sure, that won't be a hard goal to achieve.

"My guess is, there's going to be a pretty long line," Smith said. "This is a pretty special place."

Final touches are still being completed but the Mack Dick Group Pavilion will be completely open and ready to rent sometime in June 2012. Currently, you can reserve the space for $350 a day however, Smith said that price will increase in the near future because of the overhead required to use the building.