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Proposed community center

Click here to view the site plan for the community center.
Click here to view the first floor layout.
Click here to view the second floor layout.

Project origin

The impetus for the community center project started 6 years ago when an adhoc committee consisting of Earl Anderson, Henry Budde, James Ford, William Herman, Sr., Loren Stephens, and Dave Uphoff conducted a survey on the desirability of a community center. The results were positive. Indications are that people do want a community center and the main objective was to have an indoor swimming pool.

The next phase in the project started when the funds from the sale of the Lida and Simater Homes to Heritage Manor were put back into a trust fund. A new committee was formed consisting of members of the Lida Nursing Home board plus some new members to pursue the possibility of building a community center with these funds.

This group is called the New Millennia Community Building Committee. The commitee has spent many hours in meetings, doing research, visiting other centers, etc., in coming up with a proposal that they feel will satisfy the needs of the community. They presented its proposal for a community center for Minonk to the city council on March 15, 2002. The group plans to make a formal presentation to the public sometime in July.

The Committee

The members of the The New Millennia Community Building Committee are Sean Cunningham, Jim and Mary Ford, Robert Hakes, Jack Jochums, Edith Hartzler, Craig Kalkwarf, Merlon Kalkwarf, Ned Leiken, Richard Meierhofer, Craig Meyer, Dr. John Podzamsky, Rev. Craig Swenson, Bruce Tjaden, Wilbur Witcomb, Robert White, Mark Spencer, Rosemary Oldenburg and John Kirkton. They have been having monthly meetings the third Thursday of the month, sometimes at city hall and sometimes at the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

The committee has hired the services of Farnsworth & Wylie to help design the community center. Minonk native Neil Finlen is the representative from Farnsworth & Wylie who has been guiding the committee.

The group purchased a 12 acre tract of land adjacent to the curve at the north edge of Minonk and plans to use this site as the location for the proposed community center.


The proposal

The first phase of the project is to build a recreational park on the site that would eventually have the community center building. The park is being funded through a matching $302,500 grant from the Department of Natural Resources. The park will contain an athletic field that can be used for soccer or football. A skateboard park and an outdoor hockey rink will be located near the entrance to the park. The park will also include walking and jogging paths, playground equipment, a shelter, parking lot, and restrooms. The front of the park will contain a retention pond that will contain a fountain that can be lit at night.

The construction of the recreation park will be started in the Spring of 2003 and completed for use by the summer of 2004.

After completion of the recreational park, plans are to finalize the community center building. Construction of the community center will probably not start before 2005.

The building will contain a 6 lane swimming pool with an outdoor lounge area, a gymnasium that could also be used as a reception area, a jogging and walking track with exercise equipment on the second floor overlooking the gym, kitchen, food pantry facilities, a class room, daycare room and meeting rooms.

The proposed building is estimated to cost $2,500,000 and estimated annual operating costs are $350,000. The committee elected to reduce construction costs by building the structure with metal sheathing and a metal roof. The savings in this cost would allow more functionality inside the building.

There are sufficient funds to construct the building. However, to operate the center will require another source of funds. The committee is suggesting that the tax funds from a park district is the best way to go. Therefore, you can expect a referendum on a park district in the future.

The estimated tax increase would be about $30 a year on a $75,000 home. It is estimated that the increased tax on farmland would be over $1 an acre. The remaining operating costs will need to be funded from other sources. One source is to charge a membership fee. The amount of the fee is yet to be determined. Another source of funds is to rent the facilities to medical clinics or hospitals for rehabilitation use.

There is also a second phase planned for the center that would include a 300 seat theater complex and a banquet room. This phase would only be started if funds were available for the project.


If you wish to give your comments on the proposed community center please send your comments to duphoff@minonktalk.com. Only letters with a valid signed name will be published in the email section.