Management team terminates contract for pavilion services

The Miller Sunset Pavilion is seen in this April 2023 photo. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — The private two-person entity contracted to oversee and manage the Miller Sunset Pavilion is terminmating its contract with the town of Winona Lake.

K&J Operations informed town council through a letter that it will cease services as of July 31.

The move was announced at the end of the council meeting by town Manager Craig Allebach.

The termination date provides a 60-day window required in the agreement with K&J, Allebach said.

K&J Operations is owned by Winona Lake Council President Jim Lancaster and Ken Nisly.

At least two council members had questioned the arrangement with K&J because Lancaster’s involvement and the appearance of a conflict of interrest.

Lancaster attended the meeting but did not address the issue when it came up.

The move comes as the town begins working on a longterm approach on handling the facility while also looking at how to address the longterm way to finance the facility.

The town of Winona Lake still owes $5.8 million on the pavilion.

K&J had been hired by the town to oversee the pavilion for $152,800 per year.

Officials also announced the town will host a council work session June 4 as officials are expected to begin researching how best to operate the year-old pavilion and ice rink.

No votes will be taken at the work session, which will start at 5 p.m., Allebach said.

Council member Ashley McGinnis, who has encouraged the town to reassess how to oversee the pavilion, said afterward she wants everyone to offer input on numerous issues, which will look at staffing, and which town department, if any, the property will be part of for budgeting purposes.

She said the town need to look at how other communities have chosen to structure such arrangements.

“It’s really for all of us to discuss and decide and so that’s why we want to have this type of work session so we can come together and … all agree on how we want to move forward,” McGinnins said.

All future decisions will also be done with a desire to make the facility profitable, McGinnis said.

“Which ever avenue we go, we need to make sure how we are addressing that as well — creating that revenue,” she said.