The Manassas City Council unanimously approved a design Monday for the Loy E. Harris outdoor pavilion in Old Town, allowing architects to begin more detailed plans for the $2.2 million project slated to be completed this summer.

Council members called the project design "engaging" and "creative," as Dan Bellette, assistant architect to Rob Loveless of Robert Loveless Architects in Manassas, presented a slide show at Monday's meeting.

The pavilion, at Center and West streets, is part of an overall revitalization of Old Town and received the council's blessing in December 1998. Named for Loy E. Harris, a businessman who single-handedly transformed downtown Manassas into a thriving commercial and historic area, the pavilion will sport steel beams with Victorian architectural details and will be dotted with patches of grass and trees to help "soften the site," Bellette said.

Also part of the reconstruction and revitalization push is the renovation of the old Hopkins Candy Factory, which had been a warehouse and storage facility for Merchant's Inc. since 1960. Although the Candy Factory is a separate project, Manassas Community Development Director Roger Snyder said recently that it's "considered a part of the whole transformation, about what to do new with Old Town."

Drawings of the outdoor pavilion, which will house a seasonal ice rink, show the structure to be four to five feet taller than the nearest building, occupied by RW Books on Center Street. Monday's approval by the council simply allows the architects to begin work on the construction drawings, which will include a nearby building to house public restrooms, ice rink machinery and other items. The council can rule on the size, height and width of the pavilion later.

Bellette said the farmers market that operates at the site during summer and fall will continue because the outdoor rink will be made of a "sound slab" that will hold ice only during winter.