Detroit Lakes City Council wonders if new Pavilion design is the right fit for the location

City to review financial impacts of the proposed building on taxpayers.

Aldermen Shaun Carlson (left) and Dan Josephson share their thoughts on the proposed Pavilion building replacement during a Detroit Lakes City Council work session on Wednesday, April 19.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — The Detroit Lakes City Council agreed the Pavillion needs to be replaced. However, the proposed design of the new building seems to have fallen flat.

During a City Council working session on Wednesday, April 19, the majority of council members in attendance stated they liked the building design but did not feel it was the right fit for the lakeside location.

“I don't think it blends in with the intent and purpose of our park,” said Alderman Mike Stearns.

The size of the building created concern for Alderman Ron Zeman. He suggested scaling back the building size, while being mindful of the potential need to expand in the future.

Detroit Lakes City Administrator Kelcey Klemm said if the top floor of the proposed building were removed, the main hall would be 8,050 square feet. He emphasized that does not include the planned bathrooms and kitchen facility, just the usable public space.


“The existing pavilion is about 8,000 square feet (of usable public space, including the dance hall and porch areas),” Klemm said.

Pavillion View N Entry.jpg
RDG provided visuals for the proposed building to replace the current Pavilion. The rendering shows what the view from the north entry would look like.
Contributed / City of Detroit Lakes

Alderman Matt Boeke saw potential in keeping the additional space on the second floor, and not scaling back the building size. He suggested looking into a public-private venture, such as a restaurant and bar that could utilize the upper floor space.

As for building aesthetics and logistics, concerns were expressed about heating and cooling costs for a building with a lot of windows. There were also concerns over parking and traffic congestion in the area during events.

Then, there were maintenance and operation costs to consider. Alderman Shaun Carlson wondered how many additional tax dollars would be needed for the new structure.

“I don’t want, where this becomes a constant thing, where the city has to chip in and pay for this and pay for that,” Carlson said. He later added he doesn’t expect the venue to make money, but would like it to pay for basic services that it requires, such as utilities.

Alderman Jaimie Deraney asked, is the city working on a pro forma to predict financial impacts to taxpayers?

A pro forma financial statement uses assumptions about future values to project performance over a period that hasn't yet occurred.

Klemm said a pro forma is being created for the current, proposed building footprint. When the information is completed, he said it will be brought to the council for review.


After the council work session, a request was made to the city office asking what the current Pavilion’s total expenses and total revenue stream were for the last fiscal year.

Alderman Jackie Buboltz reviews public comments collected at an open house event in March regarding plans for replacing the current Pavilion building.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Heidi Tumberg, the city’s finance officer, replied: “The pavilion took in $33,335 for rental fees in 2022, however, the expenditure side is much more difficult to answer as we don’t track those costs separately — they are all lumped together with all our other park costs” and “we don’t track time allocated to the Pavilion for current full-time staff.”

Tumberg reiterated what Klemm said at the meeting, that the city office is “working on putting together revenue and expenditure figures for the Pavilion business plan,” which will be shared at a future council meeting.

If the council continues to move forward with the building project, the idea is to utilize a sales tax similar to the one the city used to fund the new police station. When the 2018 sales tax passed for the $6.7 million police station building project, a half-cent sales tax on all goods and services over 10 years was approved. The police station is paid off and the tax is set to sunset in June, Klemm said.

The proposed Pavilion project is estimated to cost $17.4 million in total construction costs.

The city is waiting to learn from the state Legislature if the option of bringing a sales tax to local voters can be done this November, or if it will need to wait until November of 2024, Klemm said.

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