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Council votes yes for performance patio

by Dennis Dalman
A performance patio will be built at the edge of Lake Francis near the Community Center after the Sartell City Council approved the amenity at its April 22 meeting.
Ever since the planning began for the center, council members and others had wanted some kind of stage, amphitheater or dock landing to be part of the project.
A performance patio is a slab of concrete in open air with an awning roof above it. The one at Lake Francis will be about 1,000 square feet. It was designed by Miller Architects and Builders whose subcontracting bids total about $175,000. That amount is $25,000 below the initial estimate for the project.
According to City Administrator Mary Degiovanni, money to pay for the patio will come from the Park District I Fund, which still has $130,000 in it, and from the Community Center Capital Fund, which now has a balance of $260,000.
The performance patio can be used for musical and/or theatrical performances, as well as a resting spot for walker and bikers near the Community Center. People could also enjoy picnics under its shade. Even in the colder months, it could be used as a meeting place for winter events, such as the popular Country Lights Festival, which began at Lake Francis two years ago, to great success. During discussion of the performance stage, Sartell Mayor Ryan Fitzthum said the festival attracted 5,000 people on one night in December.
“People can hang out on it (the patio),” said Fitzthum. “It will be a good amenity with low-cost maintenance. And maybe they can find a way to deter geese from hanging out on the patio.”
Council member Mike Chisum questioned the need for such as patio, which, he claimed, would only get any real use in the warm months. It might be better to spend the money on an amenity within the Community Center – an amenity people could use year-round.
“I was hoping to consider a variety of options,” he said.
Joe Seifert of Miller Architects and Builders was present at the April 22 council meeting to answer questions. He said construction of the patio, scheduled for mid-May, will take about six weeks to complete.

Artist’s conception of the performance patio at Lake Francis.
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