Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Group proposes building pavilion in Flat Iron Park

by Chris Schultz

July 18, 2013

What is now a concrete slab near the lagoon at Flat Iron Park would be transformed into an open pavilion suitable for musical performances and special events under a plan presented by former alderman Todd Krause.

Krause, representing the Lake Geneva Beautification Committee, a private nonprofit group that works with the city on improving public spaces, made a presentation on the proposed pavilion during the July 10 meeting of the Lake Geneva Board of Park Commissioners.

Krause said that the committee is proposing that the performance pavilion be built on the site of the slab on the north end of the park, near the lagoon. Although the proposal is new, and there are no drawings, Krause said preliminary suggestions are that the structure be eight-sided, that it be 46-feet wide and 35-feet deep and that it top out at 18 feet.

The new pavilion's foundation would elevate the stage 18 inches over ground level.

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

"We're trying to jazz it up and make it something special," Krause said.

Krause estimated that the pavilion would be large enough to accommodate a 50-piece orchestra.

Cost of the project is estimated at $300,000.

Krause said the beautification committee will do fundraising to help pay for the structure.

The city's Tax Increment Finance district budget also contains about $140,000 for improvements to Flat Iron Park, said City Administrator Dennis Jordan.

The existing concrete slab would have to be removed, he said.

"This could be a revenue source for the city," Krause told the commissioners.

The pavilion stage would not be tiered, but have a flat floor, so it could be rented out for weddings and parties when not used for musical performances, said Krause, a musician and self-described "recovering alderman."

Originally conceived as a bandshell, Krause said that creating a classic curved wall bandshell would limit the use of the structure to most musical performances.

Most serious bands and entertainers now have their own acoustic shells which they mount behind the stage, and most also have their own sound and light systems, as well.

However, Krause suggested that the performance pavilion would also have a modest sound system of its own and some conventional lights and spotlights, as well.

Krause said he's been in contact with the Jaycees, who operate Venetian Fest in Flat Iron Park in August.

He said 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.

Krause said the new structure will fit into the required 100-foot setback from navigable water.

Krause said the building would be constructed with the goal of long-term life and little maintenance.

The floor will be decorative concrete and the pillars will be made of plastic composite.

The park commissioners passed along the proposal with their recommendation that it be approved.

Commission president Doug Skates said a bandshell, or bandshell-like structure was proposed for Flat Iron in the city's parks master plan.

Plans for the performance pavilion will be reviewed by the city council's public works committee and will require approval by the city council.

Krause said the beautification committee is moving ahead with planning and funding for the project so construction can start in early spring.

The beautification committee is an independent, nonprofit organization.

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