St. Vital Park’s new pavilion was unveiled Tuesday morning with the help from area Coun. Brian Mayes and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

The new partially-enclosed facility replaces a crumbling skate shack and picnic shelter.

Mayor Sam Katz and Coun. Brian Mayes

Mayor Sam Katz and Coun. Brian Mayes cut the ribbon to unveil the new pavilion at St. Vital Park on Tuesday. (Gabriel Gosselin/CBC)

The site also got a new sculpture that incorporates a fire pit as well as a seating area crafted by Plain Projects, a local landscape architecture and environmental design studio in Winnipeg and Urban Ink, another design firm.

“The concept is all about controlled burn so it’s about the natural process of the prairie, how the native prairie regenerates in Manitoba,” said Liz Wreford-Taylor the principal architect at Plain Projects. “We brought in native grasses and limestone and steel and designed the plaza to be really four-seasons.”

Designers used lasers to craft the large fire pit.

“The chimney is laser cut to further tie into the idea of this controlled burn and the importance of fire in regeneration,” said Evan Marnoch, a designer with Urban Ink. “The pattern on the chimney is an abstracted form of a flame and it’s a half-toned image so from further back and when it’s lit with the fire you might start to see the image of fire come from it.”

Mayes said the installation and structure serve a dual purpose.

 “It’s a public art piece that has function,” he said. “You can’t go and buy a meal anywhere but you can bring things to barbeque … it’ll be a great benefit for the community.”

Mayes said after growing up in the area, the new pavilion was a welcome sight.

“It was dark. It was dingy. It was falling apart, so we replaced that,” said Mayes. “For me to have come here as a kid … it’s just fantastic. I’m very proud of this project.”

The space will be open year-round.

The total project cost $1.4 million. The project was originally forecast to cost $1.3 million when it was announced in January 2013.

The park is also slated to get a $750,000 boat launch improvement that will include riverbank stabilization, an improved dock and better lighting.