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Preliminary site plan approved for pavilion



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April 01, 2014 | 12:23 PM
A preliminary site plan locating a proposed performance pavilion on the north end of Flat Iron Park was approved by the Lake Geneva City Council on March 25.

But not everyone is happy with that location.

Mike Frazier, president of the Lake Geneva Symphony’s board of directors, said no one from the city’s park commission came to the symphony to discuss the location of the performance pavilion in Flat Iron Park.

“We really like performing in Flat Iron Park,” Frazier told the council. But it is also, logistically, the most difficult place for the symphony to perform, he said.

The proposed pavilion is a project of the nonprofit Committee for the Beautification of Lake Geneva. The design is open on all sides, so the structure does not interfere with the view of the lake from Flat Iron.

However, while the building’s openness will preserve sight lines, it won’t do much to improve the sound quality of musical performances, Frazier said.

“I can’t say today it would be a big help to the symphony orchestra,” Frazier said. “It doesn’t help with acoustics.”

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He said the orchestra often has to use amplification to play in Flat Iron because of noise.

He said a better venue is the Phoenix Park Bandshell in Delavan.

Carol Smith of Lake Geneva said she was also concerned about the proposed location of the pavilion.

Smith said the noise level at the park, off the lake and from Center and Cook streets, is high. At a performance of the Lake Geneva Symphony in Flat Iron Park this past summer, the orchestra had to stop mid-selection because of noise, she claimed.

Smith proposed the pavilion be put on the west end of Library Park.

However, that probably won’t happen. In the past, Alderman Sturges Taggart pointed out there is a covenant between the city and the former owners that new structures will be built on park property.

Todd Krause, beautification committee member and former alderman, was on vacation in Orlando, but he spoke to the council by phone.

Krause said the estimated cost of the pavilion is $300,000. A private donor put up $100,000 for the pavilion, the beautification committee put up $100,000, and now the committee is starting a campaign to raise the remaining $100,000.

The beautification committee worked on the project for the past two years.

The proposed site plan puts the pavilion on top of a concrete pad that has been used as a Venetian Festival stage for years.

Krause said the pavilion will be 46 feet wide, 35 feet deep and 12 feet from floor to canopy. Atop the canopy will be an 8-foot tall cupola that will remain lit all day, all year.

The pad will elevate the performance surface just two feet off ground level, meaning no special railings will be required for safety. Krause defended putting the pavilion in Flat Iron Park. He said Flat Iron is an urban park and historically, most concerts in Lake Geneva have been at that location.

Alderman Bill Mott said that with all due respect to the orchestra, and the city encourages them to continue to play at Flat Iron Park, the pavilion is for more than just the symphony.

Alderwoman Sarah Hill, however, said she was not a pavilion supporter.

She said the concrete pad seems to work fine for performances there, especially during Venetian Festival.

“The pad serves the function very well,” Hill said. “I am not a fan.”

Ellyn Kehoe credited Krause with planning for the pavilion. She said the beautification committee has “done a great job.”

Alderman Dennis Lyon said the proposed pavilion has “eye appeal” and will add class to the city and the park.

Taggart said he doesn’t want taxpayers to pay for the pavilion at all.

In the end, Taggart and Hill voted against the preliminary site plan, which passed 5 to 2.

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