The Maples Pavilion Project, widely supported by Grand Forks and East Grand Forks individuals and businesses, is now being used daily by residents of the Good Samaritan Society in East Grand Forks.

JoAnne Whicker, long-time East Grand Forks resident, is the organizer who raised funds for and led project management in cooperation with Good Samaritan Society’s executive manager, Michaun Shetler.

“There was a need for a more formal gathering spot outside Maples for some time,” Shetler said. “But the project really took off once JoAnne Whicker heard about the need and felt passionate about the project. JoAnne, with the support of her family, hit the ground running and never looked back. She got other residents, staff and community businesses and members excited and reached the goals needed to make what started as a wish into a reality.”

The wooden pavilion, materials and labor for which were donated by Innes Construction, is showcased in the front of the Maples building. It features an angled roof, ceiling fan, electricity, patio lights and landscaping from Tim Shea’s Nursery. A polished and etched stone from Stennes Granite lists the names of donors to the project, including a gold sponsorship from Dahlstrom Motors.

“We were going to have a June 21 ribbon-cutting ceremony to invite all who helped see the result,” Whicker said. “But, due to the virus, we’re unable to do that. I wish people who donated to the project and local residents who are just interested would drive by the front of the Maples building to see it. If you drive by during the day, you’ll see the variety of flowers are now blooming. If you come by at night, you can see the lights that come on automatically after dark. It’s just beautiful, and we couldn’t have done it without such widespread support.”

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In August 2019, a Herald article noted that Whicker’s efforts resulted in a reaching a fundraising goal of nearly $50,000 in less than one month.

“Residents now have a great outdoor space to enjoy,” Shetler said. “God was working in ways that I did not fully realize until recently.”