A $1.5 million Community Center to be used for family, youth, and adult activities and education, fitness, and sports programs has been proposed in Cuba City.
Approximately one year ago, a group of four people including Tim Hazen, Jerry Petitgoue, Steve Misky and Jim Bousley were asked to join a core group to discuss the future of the Pit, the former Cuba City High School gymnasium. Hazen said over the past several years people have held discussions on repairing the Pit. "As those people looked more into the project, the task was going to be too large to undertake," Hazen said. "Over the years money has been donated to the Pit repair project, however due to the condition of the Pit, the idea of repairing the Pit was put on hold."
The core group started meeting every month in the summer and the goal was to look at building a new recreational center for the city between the high school and elementary school. "The number one idea was to hold a major fundraising drive," Hazen said. "We as a core group believe it would be better to do a fundraising effort rather than raising taxes or expecting city taxpayers to fund the whole building."
In October, Hazen attended a city council meeting to discuss the state of the Pit. "The city council said they will continue to operate the Pit as long as there is no major expenditure," Hazen said. "As soon as something major goes wrong, the council said it will be closed and no longer used, but until then, the Pit will continue to be used on a regular basis."
Concerns were raised over the notable smell coming from the Pit. Hazen said air studies were done and those studies showed the air quality not harmful to the people using the facility.
Fundraising for the center began in September by contacting various community members. A fundraising committee has been established consisting of former Cuba City High School graduates. The fundraising effort consists of three phases with phase one ongoing. Phases two and three will follow this spring and summer. "We are hoping that everything goes as planned and we can go to the city council in the fall to look into a referendum for the center," Hazen said. "The school has agreed to dedicate the land to the city and it's contingent upon the passage of the referendum and the fundraising effort to build the new facility. The fundraising committee hopes to raise its first round of contributions soon. By late spring to mid-summer 2012, the committee hopes to meet 75 percent of their goal. A public fundraising campaign is planned later this summer."
The new recreational center has been named the Cuban Family Center and plans include a large-capacity community room available to fulfill a variety of area needs and purposes. Discussions have begun with both Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and UW-Platteville regarding possible outreach opportunities for this facility (i.e., satellite campus). The primary tenant of this city-owned facility will be the Cuba City School District, but with significant availability for use by the community at large.
Other plans for the Center include a walking track, batting cages, and bleachers in the multi-purpose gymnasium. The estimated 19,000+ square foot building will also include a fitness center, locker rooms, public restrooms, a small kitchen, office/store, adequate storage space and more.
The original Cuba City High School Gymnasium was built in 1934 by the Knights of Columbus and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) after World War I. The Pit has served the youth, students, and thousands of others in the Cuba City area. In 1960, the "new" Cuba City High School was built on School Street and the Elementary (Round) School was added in 1968.
Those wishing to help fund this project can pledge their donations over a five-year commitment term. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Contributors will be recognized by the old Pit memorabilia that is planned for permanent display at the new facility.
Those wanting further information can visit the website http://www.cubanfamilycenter.com/?page_id=2.