Kalona, Mid-Prairie may build community center
KALONA — An offer to consider building a joint community center with the Mid-Prairie School District drew approval from the Kalona City Council Monday. Proposed by the district, the possible joint venture first calls for a committee to review and assess needs of both the district and the city.
“We need to at least look at it,” said Mayor Ken Herington who asked the council to direct City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh to see about possible committee members. The plan would be to have residents, business owners, county residents, M-P and district staff and two M-P board members and two council members serve on a committee of 14 or more members.
It would be the committee’s charge to define the project scope, determine if a collaboration between the district and city would be mutually beneficial and see if what other communities have done. The plan also will involve a community and district survey.
A key factor in the proposal is the existence of a financial donor who approached Mid-Prairie about it and the city exploring the joint venture, explained M-P Superintendent Mark Schneider.
Monday, Schlabaugh noted that Kalona last year had considered a community center project when the B-4 building was offered first to the city before going on the open real estate market.
The proposal will include a gymnasium, as well as other facilities. No location was given, but the district has more than sufficient land near the middle school to accommodate a large building and parking.
Schlabaugh said there are other groups interested in the possible collaboration that, the council members noted, is only at the exploration stage. Location, cost estimates, review of city uses and financing will come only after the committee is formed and collects in-depth data.
In other business Monday, the council:
• received a request from PAWS and More to continue its allocation and possibly add $180. However, Amber Talbot, PAWS operations director, said Kalona’s animal numbers had dropped slightly. City Clerk Karen Christner said that $3,000 is in the Kalona budget for PAWS. Council member Dave Bentley, noting the value of the service, moved to make it $3,200 allocation. Christner said it should wait until the budget was discussed later in the session. At that time, no change was made;
• learned that Iowa is forming a flood plain management group in response to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mapping to aid communities. It will be an 8-12 member group, said Schlabaugh;
• approved a change order of $3,100 for curb and gutter and concrete for the A Avenue Project;
• approved a resolution accepted the A Avenue project in the total of amount of $156,265 and a payment to All American Concrete for $2,945; and
• learned it may have to hire a separate engineering firm, rather than use county engineer services, for the Safe Routes to School, part of the grant requirements.