Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 21, 2014

Kalona gets plan, prices for new center

By Mary Zielinski | Sep 20, 2013

KALONA — Preliminary plans for a possible community/recreation center for Kalona carry estimated price tags ranging from $5.9 million to $8.4 million, depending on size and contents.  The plans and figures were presented at the Kalona Council meeting Monday by Martin Gardener Architect of Marion and Strawberry Point.
Although plans included a site in the Kalona City Park, it is more likely the center would be on Mid-Prairie land between Kalona Elementary and the Mid-Prairie Middle School.  In fact, the project arose as a possible partnership with the school district that plans to add a gym to the middle school as part of a large districtwide project.
One plan ($7.8 million to $8,4. million) calls for 59,000 square feet that includes an indoor practice field as well as a a recreation area for basketball, volley ball and track, exercise and weight room and other facilities for meetings and events.  The second ($5.9 to $6.2 million) with 43,400 square feet, has no indoor practice field, but retains most of the rest of the items including a spoke-like central lobby.  The building, regardless of size, will use a geothermal heating/cooling system, something already in place at the schools.
Following the presentation, the council agreed it should continue with the project by appointing a steering committee to finalize plans and explore financing.
Architect Martin Gardener estimated it would take up to eight months to finalize both.
City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said that the committee also would re-evaluate the amounts involved in the proposals, with decisions to be based on needs.
Schlabaugh also presented the council will a brief report on the Sept. 10 meeting to save an old English River bridge and the subsequent formation of the Friends of Bunker Mill Bridge (FBMB) to achieve that.  While he said Kalona will support the efforts, it will not finance them.
Mayor Ken Herington agreed, saying, “We do not want to own a bridge.”
In other business, the council:
• approved re-zoning application for Pleasantview Home for two parcels that will permit the facility to have a day care center with a maximum of 15 to 16 mostly preschool age children, especially for the Home’s employees.  The day care center also will provide for interaction with Pleasantview residents;
• learned that proposed road work in the city would run about $120,000 and that a full report will be at the next meeting;
• learned Kalona did not received the $75,000 REAP grant it applied for earlier; and
• approved $5,000 to continue operations for the English River Watershed Management Authority (ERWMA) until it receives its $150,000 DNR grant, about the end of October.  Kalona has led in the formation of the ERWMA, but also has received funds for the other 10 members inclduing Wellman and Riverside.  Kalona previously had provided $12,000.  Funds will be from the LOST revenues that currently total $230,000.  In moving to rovide more funds, Herington said, “we’re the ones” who began the move to create the ERWMA to address flood mitigation efforts, and not to lose the “momentum.”  Part of the effort includes retaing Jody Bailey full-time as a planner with Kalona.

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