GERMANTOWN - The Germantown Kiwanis will give the village of Germantown a generous gift this summer, which has been in the works since 2007: the Gehl Foods Performing Arts Pavilion in Firemen's Park.

John Krause of the Kiwanis is heading up the $400,000 fundraising efforts for the more than 1,000-square-foot pavilion. The pavilion will accommodate 80-100 performers on stage at one time.

According to Krause, with the Kiwanis being approximately $100,000 away from the goal, he estimates the groundbreaking will take place in May.

"At the current time, we are about three quarters of the way there," Krause said. "We are making good progress on that. We fully expect to have the project completed and ready for use prior to the end of the summer season here.”

After the project is completed and ready for use, the Kiwanis will turn the pavilion over to the village.

"It’s going to be available for the general public, and the village park and recreation commission are going to have the oversight and responsibility for it," Krause said. "They’ll be the one to contact for people who want to use it. We have the Germantown Community Band, so we’ll be doing the band concerts there. If you even have people during the summertime that want to do an outdoor wedding that would work; anything that would lend itself to an outdoor event. We’ve chatted with the village, and these are the types of events they would approve, and they would provide whatever support they can for you.”

While the village will maintain the pavilion after its completion, Krause said the pavilion was intentionally built to be easily maintained.

"The pavilion is designed, and will be constructed, to be very low maintenance," Krause said. "Materials used will be primarily cement panels and masonry. Maintenance in the foreseeable future is expected to be limited to changing a light bulb, etc."

The family of the pavilion's namesake, Germantown's Gehl Foods, donated $100,000 to the project at the onset. After the company was sold to a new owner, an additional $25,000 was donated to the project. Krause said the project has tremendous support from the community, especially from its leaders: Police Chief Peter Hoell, Fire Chief Gary Weiss, and village and school board leaders.

“Frankly, as we’re getting nearer to this becoming a reality, the enthusiasm for this has been very positive," Krause said.

For more information on how to donate to the cause, visit the Kiwanis of Germantown at gtownkiwanis.org. 

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