A new structure to replace the pavilion destroyed in a fire at Bde Maka Ska/Lake Calhoun last month will not be built until at least 2021, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
The former pavilion had stood for almost 90 years before it burned down May 16, in what investigators say was a negligent fire caused by a man carelessly disposing of hookah embers. The building was deemed a total loss and was demolished.
Before anything is built on the site, the Park Board will undergo two years of planning and design for a replacement structure, according to an update given to commissioners last week.
"We really have a significant opportunity to make certain that we do this right," Michael Schroeder, assistant superintendent for planning services, told commissioners. "It will take some time, and we'll get there through the normal engagement processes that we use."
Lola on the Lake, the restaurant that had occupied the pavilion, has a contract to serve food on the lake through 2022. The Park Board is working with owner Louis King on a temporary solution for the upcoming seasons, including more food trucks.
In the meantime, the concession is operating on a shortened schedule, serving from a food truck near the site Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and some Thursdays, according to its website.
Workers will lay down a temporary surface on the site this summer for the food trucks and beer tent.
At last week's meeting, Park Board President Brad Bourn urged park staff to have the space ready sooner rather than later.
"I would like to challenge us to get to the point when we're not looking at July — which may very well turn into August — before we can get back to place-making at that space," he said.
Commissioner Jono Cowgill, whose district encompasses the pavilion site, said he was "very excited about the opportunity to rebuild and to create something really vital and new and 21st century at this park space."
Nouh O. Elmi, 23, had disposed of hookah embers, which then grew into flames and spread inside the building at the base of the pavilion, according to a criminal complaint filed this month. He was charged with a felony and remains free before a court appearance July 10.