By Brandi Makuski
Officials in Plover have begun to narrow down at least one feature of the planned overhaul to Lake Pacawa Park, with changes potentially beginning as soon as spring of 2017.
A master plan for the future of the park was first proposed in Jan. of 2014.
Stevens Point-based Rettler Corporation created the conceptual plan, which currently includes adding a band shell, and parking for more than 200 as well as LED lighting, additional bathrooms and pavilions throughout the park.
The revamp also includes a new fishing dock and scenic overlook, reconstructed driving surfaces, new perimeter walking paths and improved playing fields. The estimated price tag is $4.5 million.
While funding for village parks comes from room tax and park impact fees, the Lake Pacawa Park revamp will be funded through donations, and so far, the generosity has been “humbling”, Mahoney said.
“About a month ago, we held a ‘thank you’ dinner for sponsors of Celebrate Plover,” Mahoney said. “For those who don’t know, there are a group of businesses who donate all the funding for that event, to the tune of about $55,000 each year. This year, we decided to talk to them about moving forward on the band shell.”
Mahoney said the Plover-Whiting Lions Club has kicked in the first $60,000. After that, four other Celebrate Plover sponsors came forward — Mahoney declined to say which ones for now — offering to become the “major sponsors for the band shell”, he said.
“There’s very, very strong support to potentially get the band shell up and ready for us by next year’s Celebrate Plover,” he added.
The design of the band shell was in question, Mahoney said, until someone came across a park structure in Greenfield, Wis.
“This is a different band shell design than we were originally thinking of, with a handicap-accessible parking facing the structure, and it really matched what we were looking for,” he said.
John Kneer, a landscape architect with Rettler, said the band shell measures about 40’x40′, though the village’s final design could vary. Kneer helped design the park’s master plan presented in 2014, said more changes will be made to help narrow down specific costs.
“We’ll work very closely to interface the donors and getting that image in the park,” Kneer said.
Greg Wright from CREATE Portage County — formerly known as the Arts Alliance — has also approached the village to offer assistance in raising funds needed for the remodel.
Mahoney said the band shell design is “perfect” for children’s shows, live bands or orchestras, nonprofit fundraiser shows and other entertainment the village could line up.
“There are several elements which have not yet been decided, but developing those ideas were a priority so work could begin as soon as possible,” Mahoney said. “We’ll put together what we feel is a viable plan and bring it back for discussion and hopefully, approval.”