Three concept drawings for a new rec and arts centre are displayed at Lakeside Pavilion in Kingsville on August 17, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Kingsville Discusses Plans For New Arts Centre

The Town of Kingsville is looking to its past in order to build a future recreation and arts centre.

Kingsville’s town council held a special meeting Thursday night at Lakeside Pavilion to hear a presentation on concepts for a new centre, to be built on the site of the former King’s Landing restaurant. The special meeting was combined with a public open house which let residents examine the plans themselves and ask questions of the town and the architects.

Three different ideas for redeveloping the site were presented by Shane Mitchell, project manager at Glos Associates in Windsor.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos says councillors are finding the multiple ideas helpful.

“Having three different options, touching on three different¬†heritage aspects of our municipality is providing, I think, for some good discussion,” says Santos.

The three concepts presented by Mitchell include a pavilion design, where a front entrance would face a new parkette and take advantage of sweeping views of Lake Erie. The second is based on the historic Grovehouse Manor hotel, which would recreate the original front of the hotel and have its main hall space in the rear of the building. The third concept is a hybrid combining the historical designs of the Mettawas hotel, casino and train station, featuring a covered entrance and porch space.

All designs would include 6,000 sq ft of space, with the Grovehouse design slightly larger.

Funding for the work is being made possible by a Canada 150 grant, and Santos says that makes it very important to ensure that the new structure retains the town’s history and architecture.

“We have the influence of Hiram Walker and his touch in the town of Kingsville, one of the concepts identifies that, and we’re recognizing some of the old heritage with the Mettawas project and the old casino that was there on our waterfront property,” says Santos.

Walker, the Windsor industrialist who founded the distillery creating Canadian Club whiskey, built a railroad from Walkerville to Kingsville to help transport products to the distillery. He built the original Mettawas Hotel as a southern competitor to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, as well as the train station.

The concept drawings were put on display following the special council meeting for the public to view.

Santos says once they receive feedback from the open house that seems of favour one of the designs, a preliminary report will be submitted to council by the end of September. From there, Santos hopes to have the facilities phase underway with construction beginning before winter weather hits. A completion date could come as soon as summer 2018.