Rotary clock dedicated, presented to cityNearly a year after its installation, the Rotary International clock at the corner of First and Walnut streets has been officially dedicated and presented to the city of Hudson.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Nearly a year after its installation, the Rotary International clock at the corner of First and Walnut streets has been officially dedicated and presented to the city of Hudson.
It happened in a brief ceremony Sunday afternoon, June 5 attended by the donors of the clock, family members, Rotarians and a handful of government officials.
The clock was a gift to the city in celebration of the Hudson Daybreak Rotary Club’s 20th anniversary last year.
Rotarian Mark Gherty spearheaded the project and, along with his wife, Maeta, provided a major portion of the funds for the purchase.
The Gagnon family — siblings Ron, Mark and Jean — gave the city an easement to erect the clock on a corner of the Gagnon Inc. parking lot at First and Walnut. They also provided financial support for the project.
The four-faced, solar-powered clock stands on a pedestal and base at least a dozen feet tall. The pedestal rises from a small circular flower bed. The clock plaza is furnished with two Rotary benches.
The pedestal and clock body are painted royal blue with gold trim. The white clock faces have the Rotary seal in the middle of the dial.
Four plaques are affixed to the four sides of the pedestal base. One denotes the Daybreak Club’s 20th anniversary. The others honor the parents of the Gagnons, Mark and Maeta Gherty’s parents, and Mark Gagnon’s late daughter, Marquelle.
Mark Gherty talked about the parents in a short address.
He noted that in the year the Hudson Rotary was formed, 1951, Flavian and Bernadette Gagnon were operating Gagnon Construction out of an office at that very site.
“Where you are standing was a very active railroad track,” Gherty told the audience.
Gherty’s father, Lawrence, was a young lawyer and part-time St. Croix County district attorney with an office at 408 Second St.
Maeta’s parents, Alton and Helen McKenzie, were operating the Quality Food Market in the Second Street storefront that now houses Lavender Thymes.
Marquelle Gagnon, who died in August 2008, was Mark Gherty’s goddaughter. He called her a special young lady.
Gherty said he and Mark Gagnon had been friends since they were babies. The Gherty and Gagnon families lived around the corner from each other in the neighborhood of Orange and Ninth streets in those days.
Gherty said the solar-powered clock fits a mission of both Rotary International and the city of Hudson to promote sustainability. He thanked Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli for making sure it operates properly.
Gherty said he checked the clock during the winter, too, and “even during the cloudy days it was stilling working.”
Mayor Alan Burchill gladly accepted the clock for the city.
“On behalf of the citizens of Hudson, we really appreciate all the work that the Hudson Rotary Club does in this community,” Burchill said.
Ron Gagnon recalled the spot they were standing on being railroad “tracks, weeds and hobos” when he was a boy.
“This street was U.S. Hwy. 12, and if you headed in that direction you could end up in Seattle,” he said, pointing west.
Rotary District Governor Craig Leiser of Stillwater, Minn., also gave brief remarks.
State Rep. Dean Knudson and his wife, Joy, District 2 Alderperson Mary Yacoub and St. Croix Valley Foundation president Steve Wilcox were among those who attended the ceremony.