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Howard board backs pavilion project in Village Center

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – Three motions related to developing the public space of the Village Center, with a facility similar to one in Valparaiso, Indiana, were approved Monday, May 24, by the Howard village board.

Planned east of the Howard Commons apartment complex, the facility would include an activities center building on the west side of the site, adjacent to a pavilion in the center, where a splash pad would also be located, and an amphitheater with a lawn area and stage off to the east.

To help pay for the project, estimated to cost from $12-13 million, the board approved a naming rights agreement with Dan Schmidt to name the pavilion after his parents, Arnold and Gloria Schmidt, the founders of Bay Industries, with the company logo visible on the center of the pavilion floor.

In exchange for those naming rights, Dan Schmidt agreed to contribute $4.875 million to the village, with annual payments of $325,000 over 15 years, and no penalty to pre-pay the amount.

Board members also approved an architectural agreement with Shive-Hattery, which is based in Valparaiso, to design the facility and perform on-site inspections during construction, with the basic services costing $842,000.

However, additional services the village will likely require could bring the total architectural agreement cost to $932,800.

The board’s third motion approved a contract with Miron Construction for construction management services with a $10,000 preconstruction fee.

If the village moves forward with the project, the contract calls for paying Miron manager fees of 1.5% of the total project costs and general conditions costs of $21,515 per month, not to exceed 13 months.

Village Administrator Paul Evert said the project could be bid out next January or February and completed in the spring or summer of 2023, provided the board decides to proceed and approves the entire budget and financing package prior to putting the project out to bid.

Evert said the village began working with architects in 2016 on a facility in the Village Center that could serve as a skating rink in the winter and host events like farmers markets, food festivals, movies and music the rest of the year.

He said the village may also be able to move a couple of wards for voting to the activities center building, with the Green Bay Community Church being a crowded polling place.

Evert said the project is modeled after the William E. Urschel Pavilion and Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso.

That facility consists of an open-sided pavilion that houses an artificially cooled skating rink in the winter, while roller skating, farmers markets and festivals are held there from spring through fall.

To pay for operating the facility in Valparaiso, Evert said there is sponsorship on the stage and activity center “that generates a pretty good annual amount of money.”

In addition, Evert said Howard could generate revenue by operating a beer garden with its facility.

“What we would hope to do is… bring in some kind of brewpub restaurant and maybe contract with them to run the beer garden, so we could get some cut of the profits,” he said.

Evert said there would be “a tremendous amount of sponsorship opportunities” with the facility, which could also generate revenue with fees from ice skating, rollerblading, farmers’ markets, etc.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape, but we have a long way to go, once we bring an architect and construction manager on board and figure out the overall cost,” he said.

Evert said the village’s staffing level would increase with building the facility.

“We’re going to have at least one full-term person to be a head of the thing and run it, and then probably rely heavily on (seasonal employees),” he said.

Evert said he believes the ice skating area in the pavilion would have an advantage over the one in the Titletown District in Ashwaubenon because the pavilion would keep snow from covering the skating surface along with cutting down wind.

Village President Burt McIntyre said the project is “a facility that is very useful for anyone who wants to use it for just about anything.”

Evert said the facility could be rented out for big events, such as corporate events or private parties.

He said the village owns a lot south of the Village Center, where utility lines are located, which could be used for parking, in addition to other parking available nearby.

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