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March 18, 2014 | 01:34 PM
Preliminary approval for a new performance pavilion in Flat Iron Park was granted by the Lake Geneva Plan Commission on Monday.

The proposal for the open-air, covered pavilion will also have to be reviewed by the Lake Geneva City Council.

The $300,000 structure, which would provide a permanent venue for musical performances at the park, awaits final funding.

Plans call for the pavilion to be built at the site of the 50-by-25-foot concrete slab at the north end of the park, near the Geneva Lake Dam and the chamber of commerce building.

The project is being carried out by the Committee for the Beautification of Lake Geneva, a private nonprofit group that works with the city on improving public spaces. 

Public Works Director Dan Winkler and Mayor Jim Connors sit on the committee as city representatives. 

Connors abstained in the voting on the pavilion. Donations will pay for construction, although City Administrator Dennis Jordan has pointed out in the past that the city’s Tax Increment Finance district budget has about $140,000 for park improvements.

The city’s park commission has already reviewed and recommended the project be approved.

Todd Krause, a former alderman and a member of the beautification committee, has said that the project is already two-thirds funded from a single donor.

The donor, who has not been identified, will have naming rights to the pavilion, Krause said.

The slab is used now as a stage for musical acts during the Lake Geneva Venetian Festival, sponsored the local Jaycees.

Krause has said that many of the proposed design features of the performance pavilion are intended to meet the Jaycees’ Venetian Fest needs, as well as provide a year-around venue for the city.

The eight-sided, 46-by-30-foot pavilion will fit on where the slab is now, Krause said. It will have a 5-foot wide apron in front.

The pavilion’s floor will be decorative concrete and specially coated and finished so it can be used for musical, dancing and theatrical performances, Krause said.

While that may not sound large, Krause said the pavilion will be large enough to accommodate the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, which has about 50 members.

The pavilion will top out at 18 feet and be surmounted by a cupola that will be lit 24-hours a day, all year long. The structure will contain wiring for spotlighting.

The open design of the structure will allow passersby to look through it. It will not obstruct the view of the lake or the park, Krause told the plan commission.

The architecture would be compatible with the Riviera and the nearby Flat Iron Park gazebo.

Ken Etten, architect with McCormack + Etten Architects, Lake Geneva, has worked on the project for two years with the beautification committee.

Etten told the commissioners that the design of the pavilion is intended to complement that of local buildings, including two-tone brick of the kind used in the Riviera.

Commissioners Cindy Flower and Doug Skates said they like the pavilion proposal.

“Nice project. I can’t wait until it’s completed,” Flower said.

Skates, who also chairs the park commission, said when he first heard that the beautification committee wanted to put up a performance pavilion, he thought of the old-fashioned bandshells with the solid back walls and obstructed views.

“But this is open air, and open sight lines,” he said.

Krause has said that the beautification committee hopes to start construction shortly after Venetian Festival is completed in August, so the pavilion will be ready for the 2015 summer season.

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