Willkommen Park Pavilion

More than Just a Park Pavilion

For Paulette Hornann and her grown daughter Karla, saving their town’s park pavilion was a lesson in patience and persistence. When they heard of the city’s plans to demolish the building in 2004, they and other residents formed “Save the Pavilion, Inc.” and began efforts to collect signatures and pledges. To them, the wood framed structure was more than just a building – the pavilion has been home to Stiftungsfest, or Founders’ Day Celebration, since it was built in 1900. Stiftungsfest is the state’s oldest annual German festival, a place where everyone can “come back to their roots” each year.

The pavilion, over 100 years old, was stabilized and rehabilitated, with a new foundation, framing, roofing, and insulation.

The Hornanns, along with a small group of pavilion supporters, demonstrated their perseverance by regularly attending city council meetings to voice their concerns and present alternatives. They raised awareness and support in the community by distributing fliers, conducting fundraising drives, and seeking out partners and information. The significance and value of the pavilion became even more evident when a booth was set up at Stiftungsfest — an overwhelming number of people shared their memories of the pavilion and voiced their support for its preservation. In 2005, following inclusion in PAM’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list, the city council reversed its decision to demolish the building and agreed to hire a consultant to pursue rehabilitation of the pavilion.

Building Partnerships

Mark McGowan, who had been involved in a similar effort to restore the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis, was hired to lead the pavilion’s preservation. Mr. McGowan began by forming partnerships to complete component pieces of the rehabilitation work. Over the summer of 2005, business partners from the community and around the state volunteered their time and materials to construct a new foundation, replace deteriorated roofing and framing, and install new windows and insulation. Partway through the project, however, the City and the consultant parted ways, preventing work from being completed in the time for that year’s Stiftungsfest. The following year, the City and Save the Pavilion, Inc. worked together to complete the remainder of the renovation, including electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling work, as well as build-out of a kitchen and restrooms. Today, the pavilion is used year-round as a venue for dances, graduation parties, wedding receptions, and family reunions, as well as the home base for Stiftungsfest. For residents like Paulette and Karla, it continues to be a place where their childhood memories live on and where future generations can make their own.

Project Details

Developer: McGowan Development

Other local businesses involved in the project: Lano Equipment, DH Excavating, Pro Bob Excavating, Henning Excavating, Kohls Foam Systems, Inc., Northrup Roofing and Remodeling, Reichel Painting, C.S. McCrossan, Inc., NTC Homes, Custom Woodcraft, Anderson Window Corporation, Boy’s Electric, Dr. Dan’s Refrigeration and Electric, Chaska Building Center, Klingelhutz Companies, and more

Project Costs

(approx.) $400,000 –  $650,000

Funding Sources

Private Donations: $326,000

Inter-fund loan from the City: $75,000

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