Winona Lake council working to overhaul pavilion oversight

From left, Winona Lake Town Council President Jim Lancaster addresses council while council member Austin Reynolds looks on. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WINONA LAKE — Town Council held the first of a series of work sessions on Tuesday as they work to develop a long range plan on how to oversee the Miller Sunset Pavilion ice rink.

Town council has scheduled work sessions through much of the remaining year to accomplish that goal.

The meetings are open to the public, but no votes will be cast during the sessions.

On Tuesday, they began looking at whether oversight of the pavilion should fall under the parks department or a separate committee. They’re also trying to determine whether to employ a pavilion director, who that person would report to and how to provide maintenance for the facility. Other issues that will be addressed is how to executive a marketing and ptromotions strategy as well as developing a capital campaign to whittle down the multi-million dollar debt.

The need for changes came to the forefront last month when K and J operations, which includes council president Jim Lancaster, announced it would cease providing oversight to the pavilion as of July 31.

Council is also working on a plan to transition those responsibilities over the next few weeks.

Despite the large task at hand, Council member Barry Andrew sounded optimistic.

“I’m thankful for the positive direction that we’re going,” Andrew said.

The hope is to have a plan in place by the time the ice rink opens for the winter.

“I think if we stay on task and stay on target we can have some solutions together by this fall,” he said.

Much of the input came from Lancaster and council member Ashley McGinnis who outlined several ideas.

Officials are looking at modeling possible plans after Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne and a similar venue in Valparaiso.

Other meetings are set for June 25, July 30, Aug. 12, Sept. 3, Oct. 8, Nov. 12, and Dec. 3.