By Lea Sander
WINONA LAKE — Work on the Miller Sunset Pavilion is progressing well.
Winona Village Superintendent Nick Hauck said he estimated work on the clubhouse, which would contain a skating rink, should be completed in September.
The 20,000+ square foot pavilion is being built on the site of the former Billy Sunday Tabernacle along Park Avenue in Winona Lake, and is meant to be designed to resemble it. The pavilion’s name comes from a quote from the late Dane Miller.
The pavilion is partially enclosed with four large glass garage doors to help block the wind. A wrought iron fence will encircle the majority of the perimeter to keep people out when the pavilion is closed.
A brick-paved lot will be in front of the pavilion, with some of the bricks listing the names of individuals and entities who helped donate to the project.
Next to the pavilion is a storage building, which includes room for a Zamboni to resurface ice on the rink. The rink itself occupies 7,200 square feet in the center of the pavilion and will be made of a chilled sheet of ice.
There will be no ice on the rink section during the warmer months, allowing the entire floor of the pavilion to be used for events like the Wagon Wheel Symphony of the Lakes concert around the 4th of July and the Summer Jazz Festival.
“To give an idea, the tent that we’re putting up for the 4th of July (for the concert)…we can set up six (of them) inside (the pavilion),” Hauck said.
Inside the pavilion, there will be seats set up along the rink for people to watch others skate.
Another feature of the pavilion is the pickleball anchors, which will allow for sports fields to be placed there, Hauck said.
The design also includes a fireplace behind the pavilion where skaters can warm up. Hauck noted that people should still be able to access the fireplace and restrooms in another building near the lodge when the actual lodge is closed.
There’s also room for concessions, with items like hot dogs, pretzels, chips, candy bars, cheese nachos, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and coffee for sale; a room for storing skates; a place to pay for skate rentals and entrance fees; and rental lockers for storage.
Hauck added that people are also welcome to bring their own skates.
The city uses a process called BOT for the project. BOT stands for Build, Operate and Transfer and means that a developer can essentially complete a project and then transfer ownership to a government entity.
WL Ice LLC is developing the project. The cost of the project at the time of the BOT deal was over $6 million.
A fundraiser is underway on the online crowdfunding site Patronicity to raise funds for part of the project. Thanks to it, individuals and companies can have their name inscribed on the bricks mentioned above and on a wall of donors if they give for the project.
Fundraising is in conjunction with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, with the IHCDA providing a matching grant for the project through its CreatINg Places program. By Sunday evening, July 3, fundraising had more than exceeded the $50,000 goal, making the project eligible to receive the grant.
The rest of the project should be funded by more fundraising and donations, then tax increase funding if enough money is not raised to cover the cost of the project, the latter being generated by the funds property tax from the property assessment in the area.
“Honestly, the opportunities are limitless…for programming,” Hauck said of activities at the pavilion. “I think it’s going to be a great asset to the community. When you think of all that Winona Lake has to offer, this is just going to make it all better.