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New community gazebo dedicated in Yorkville

YORKVILLE — A small donation from a beloved, lifelong member of the Yorkville community led to construction of a new location where neighbors can come together.

It all started when Armand Fior gave Mayor Karen Vargo $100 and told her to do something good with it, according to council President Sandy Reasbeck. Now, several months later, a gazebo has been erected on the green across Market Street from the city building,

Sadly, Fior did not live to see the project completed. He died Jan. 20 at age 93.

The Yorkville native was born in 1925, the eldest son of Italian immigrant parents. His father, Eduardo Fior, opened a barbershop in the village in 1930, and Armand began working there in 1940. He became a licensed barber before graduating high school and served in the profession for 77 years. He was forced to retire for health reasons in 2018, leaving the longest-standing family-owned business in the village.

The idea of creating a public gathering space had been discussed for years, according to village leaders, but it really took off with the gift from Fior. Letters sent to other business owners yielded more donations, including a “huge” one from Yorkville Intermodal, Reasbeck said. Residents and friends of the community also gave in support of the project. Many made donations in memory of their own lost loved ones. Signs acknowledging those gifts were donated by Ultimate Signs.

Terry Smith of Smith’s Sawdust Studio in Bethesda built the gazebo and delivered it on Aug. 22. Village street employees helped place the structure, and the Yorkville Beautification Committee will fund and complete the landscaping.

Vargo, Reasbeck and about 20 other village leaders and residents turned out at the gazebo location on Wednesday afternoon for the official dedication of the structure. Reasbeck, who is also a candidate for mayor, welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone who contributed to the effort. Vargo also addressed the attendees.

“Enjoy it — it’s yours,” Vargo told those who assembled as she suggested that it would be a great spot for photos of special occasions, including weddings, proms, homecomings and for leisure activities. “Come up and read.”

Those on hand for the ceremony were pleased with the new addition to the community.

“It’s nice,” nearby apartment resident Dianna Gosney said, noting she and her friends sometimes used to sit in chairs on the sidewalk to socialize. “It’s very nice.”

“It’s something that can stay forever,” Fran Wakulchik said. “A bog thanks goes out to everyone involved.”

Wakulchik also said she has taken photos of her twin grandsons, Trent and Trey, at the site. They are 12-year-old St. Clairsville residents.

“It’s beautiful, and it was a beautiful dedication,” said Kimmie Pielech, a village employee.

Reasbeck stressed that many people and businesses contributed to the project. In particular, she thanked Vargo for spearheading the effort, for helping to organize the event and for creating invitations for the event. She noted that the village street department helped with site preparation and said the employees of the local Convenient Food Mart collected donations on behalf of the gazebo.

Refreshments from villages businesses were served at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The first official event planned for the gazebo is the second annual Caroling on the Green in December. Details will be announced at a later date.

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