CUBA CITY—The new design for the proposed community center in Cuba City was presented to the Cuba City Council on May 7.
The design was changed to help reduce the costs of the building from $2.85 million to $2.1 million. Tim Hazen of the community center core committee said an aggressive fundraising effort will be made this summer to raise $1 million of the building costs. To date approximately $567,000 has been raised.
To reduce the footprint of the building, the stage area for community theater and storage was removed, the meeting rooms have been consolidated and will be separated by a sliding wall, and a fitness room was eliminated as it was discovered that there will be room for workout equipment on the upper level of the gymnasium along the elevated walking path. The reduced meeting rooms will still accommodate approximately 100 people for family gatherings and community events.
Another notable change was the parking lot. The smaller building allowed for a few additional parking spaces as well as changes to the entrances. The community center parking lot will no longer be connected to the one-way exit of the Cuba City High School. Separate entrances will be built on either side of the building with the parking lot wrapping around the building.
“It will be a better flow for traffic by doing that,” Hazen said about the changes to the entrances.
Hazen said he hopes the gymnasium will be large enough to accommodate the leagues and tournaments that provide the funding for operating and maintaining a community center. There will be a set of bleachers in the gym. A concern was made that the fitness equipment would be upstairs with no elevator for accessibility. Hazen said there will be space around the gymnasium for walking as well, especially when the gym is not in use.
The council also discussed having a generator in the building so it can serve as an emergency shelter in severe weather or disaster situations.
After the two-month aggressive fundraising effort, the committee will present the community center progress with the city council to determine if a referendum will be held and the money needed from the tax payers. Hazen said the referendum amount hasn’t been determined, but when the numbers were run for the higher-priced building, taxes would increase $189 per $100,000 property. That cost is expected to be much lower with the smaller building.
“The core committee would like to get the cost of this building down even more,” Hazen said. “We’ll be meeting with Focus on Energy. There are other things we want to consult to see if we can downsize.”
Very few community grants are available for the construction of a community center, and Cuba City does not have enough low-income residents to qualify for those opportunities.
The council approved the new community center plan 7-1, with alderman Greg Bockhop against, to allow the community center fundraising committee to seek funding.
“People are willing to donate, but they want to see something final,” Hazen said.
The Cuba City Area Rescue Squad increased its donation from $50,000 to $105,000 to purchase a new ambulance.
“This considerably reduces the amount the city and the townships have to participate and does put it within the city’s budget,” Cuba City Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Schultz said.
The Cuba City Area Rescue Squad covers the city of Cuba City and the towns of Elk Grove, Smelser, Benton and New Diggings. Although all of the towns haven’t provided their population information to help break down the cost, the Cuba City Council voted to allow the rescue squad to proceed with the purchase to secure the lowest possible price; the cost was going to increase by $3,000 on May 15.
The rescue squad finalized specifications for the new vehicle the previous week. It is a 2015 Horton Freightliner, anticipated to cost $237,299. The new ambulance was part of a 10-year rotation to replace old equipment.