Source: Sherman Publications

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It’s now officially ‘Wildwood Pavilion’ and more

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

March 23, 2011

Our community seems to be a government awarded-construction paradise, between the new Orion (senior) Center, bridge work on Silverbell and downtown Lake Orion's Streetscape there is a lot going on to snarl-up traffic for the long-term betterment of society.

But wait, there's more! Soon residents won't have to travel to far away places like Clarkston or Auburn Hills or Rochester to see live entertainment.

At the Orion Township Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, the board approved more funds to the Wildwood Pavilion Project. The additional money is for sod and "other amenities" to the current structure, which now sits in the middle of a field of dirt and mud.

The additional $30,000 has upped the cost to $180,000 for the Wildwood project.

"This project is something that (Operations Director) Allan Feys and I have put in too much time to get to this stage," said township supervisor Matt Gibb, showing a picture of the facility as it stands. "I felt it was appropriate to summarize where we're at today, before the board, so we could get your approval and comments."

Three items were up for approval during the meeting.

First, the name, was not officially Wildwood Pavilion until Monday's meeting. The structure was called that as a way to discuss it simply, and while the name is not officially picked, it may change further yet.

Gibb detailed (in the packet for his presentation) that he was talking to local businesses for sponsorship opportunities, with one potential sponsored name being the, "GM Theater for the Arts at Wildwood Pavilion."

Second, Gibb wished to discuss who would run the amphitheater. He stressed the township is not a booking agent, concert provider, parking company or talent bank. To that end, he said more than any other project the township has undertaken, Wildwood Pavilion has the greatest potential for exposure, marketing, and revenue.

The last item, and the one that would require additional funds, was asking whether the facility was ready to be opened. Gibb wished to "complete" the venue by adding significant improvements including lighting, security, access, and an entry level system to support programs and rentals.

Most of the trustees were behind the project, with Treasurer Alice Young even mentioning she was "very happy" with the project and was excited to see where it went. Trustee Joann VanTassel was also happy with the progress, but questioned if the amount requested was minimum required.

"We've expended the entire amount given to us back in January 2009, and that amount was $150,000, while the board allocated $10,000 for sod last year," said Gibb. "We couldn't get the sod in before bad weather hit, but now that we can we realize it's not enough.

"For now we want to drop in a well, and irrigation system, and more sod, and that's going to be around $30,000."

VanTassel again requested that a minimum amount for the facilities operation as is be put in writing.

"It's nice to say sponsors, but whose going to go out and get these sponsors?" asked VanTassel. "I'm hesitant to write a blank check for items I cannot see laid out in black and white on paper."

Despite the concerns, VanTassel and the other trustees voted unanimously to approve the use of the funds.

Wildwood Pavilion is located near the township municipal complex on Joslyn Road.