If you have ever taken on a home improvement project in a 100-plus-year-old house, you have some idea what it’s taken to build Mill Pond Terrace. You can plan all you want, but you never know what you’re going to find behind the surfaces. Now, multiply that by about 1,000. And then add some rain, snow and heat. And then think about managing the rest of your 70,000 square foot “home” at the same time.
That’s Mill Pond Terrace. And that’s Kate Salas. As Green Lake Renewal’s Executive Director, Kate is a master organizer. She is probably the only person on the planet who could have taken all of the pieces of this puzzle and put them into place, meanwhile juggling everything else that goes on every day at Town Square.
How did she make this look so easy? We asked her for her thoughts:
Fran: What in your background prepared you to take on this huge task?
Kate: Um… I have a pair of work boots.
Fran: Tell us about your project task force.
Kate: So much talent and skill. Amy Arnetveit, the graphic designer who could see the whole project and create a cohesive visual plan. Dave Armstrong, the developer who guided its execution. Phil Burkart, our resident '‘Idea Man’, who constantly offered unique solutions to challenges. Mary Jo Johnson, the business mind who kept us on budget. Evelyn Galster, who kept us in line with needs of our entire community.
Fran: What went into the project before it even broke ground?
Kate: A lot of planning. Working with the architect. Sitting down with each contractor to plan the execution of each portion. Decommissioning the well on the lower parking lot. Working with other property owners to get the power lines buried. Coordinating with the city. It’s an old property with a lot of history, much of it not readily visible.
Fran: How about that April snowstorm?
Kate: A shocker. It put the contractors two weeks off schedule to start. Which, of course, had a ripple effect, involving all of the other contractors’ schedules.
Fran: What was the biggest challenge of working on this project?
Kate: Definitely weather. Snow. Rain. Heat. And then winter arrived early. Also, keeping everyone coordinated and informed.
Fran: What has been the best part?
Kate: The ideas, the imagination and the community support. It really makes you excited about the possibilities. Personally, I am excited about Dave Armstrong and Phil Burkart buying me a beer at Mill Pond Terrace.
Fran: What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
Kate: The excavator has this cool thing that is run by remote control. It shoots gravel out of the dump truck onto the ground and can empty a truck very quickly.
Fran: When is the last time had a full night’s sleep?
Kate: I honestly can’t remember.
Fran: What will you be doing on July 3, the day after Mill Pond Terrace’s opening party?
Kate: Work. Bike. Eat. Drink beer.
So…..that’s Kate. You can see why we call her Kate the Great.
Thank you, Green Lake Renewal supporters, for making this fantastic project possible
President - Green Lake Renewal Board of Directors