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DHDC asks city for pavilion help

9/21/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Hays city commissioners heard cost estimates at their work session Thursday night for building a pavilion in downtown Hays.

Members of the Downtown Hays Development Corp. unveiled a conceptual drawing of the pavilion at Saturday's Wines and Steins event.

The DHDC is working to create a pavilion and redevelopment of the area at 10th and Main streets near Union Park, said Traci Konrade, DHDC executive director.

A local designer and architect donated the time to prepare drawings of the proposed 3,168-square-foot building, said Michele Flax, past president of the DHDC board.

The design looks similar to a railroad depot, so it suits the surrounding railroad corridor and could be used as an open-air or closed facility, she said.

It wouldn't be centrally heated or cooled, but would have fans and electric heaters in the ceiling.

While there would be no restrooms inside the building, the plan calls for a stand alone structure that could be used year-round, whether the pavilion was open or not, Flax said.

"We believe the pavilion can serve many purposes," she said.

It could serve as a farmers' market, host wedding receptions and family reunions as well as community functions.

Though the numbers aren't firm yet, total cost of the project is estimated at $576,534.

DHDC raised approximately $40,000 at the Wines and Steins event, and plans to continue fundraising efforts.

"We have a donor who will donate the majority of the $300,000," Flax said of the private portion of the project.

However, the donation is contingent on city participation.

Flax said the group is asking for a total contribution of $276,534 in cash and in-kind services from the city for the remainder of the project.

"I think this is really, really exciting. There's been a lot of time and money spent downtown," Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said.

"We've had amazing redevelopment take place that is at its midpoint and has further to go," Commissioner Henry Schwaller said. "One of the challenges for downtown is that there is no gathering place, and this facility is very beautiful. ... It fits in with the aesthetic of downtown."

If the pavilion is completed, it would be brought into the city's parks system, and the city would manage the building after it's built.

When Commissioner Ron Mellick asked for an estimate of ongoing costs, city manager Toby Dougherty said city staff will bring them to the next work session.

In other business:

* Jana Jordan, director of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented a marketing Hays plan. The plan calls for updating the CVB website, showcasing more and larger images of the community, keeping the mobile site clean and easily accessible, and using concise and easy to read outdoor advertising. The plan calls for developing a familiar look in advertising and billboards.

"We can't just try to train those front-line people at motels," Jordan said. "We have to sell our own community."

* Commissioners heard a presentation on the Hays housing assessment.

* Commissioners asked for more information about requiring two forms of identification from underage bar patrons.

* Commissioners directed I.D. Creech, public works director, to proceed with condemnation of sidewalks.