St. Joseph mayor solicits funds for community center

by TaLeiza Calloway –

Plans to construct a community center in St. Joseph gained more visibility after St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz shared the city’s vision with a state Senate panel recently. That was the goal, he told elected officials.

“This is the first time the city has gone through the bonding process,” Schultz said. “This was the first step. I wanted to get some visibility on what we’re trying to do.”

Schultz testified April 4 at a legislative hearing for a bill that would provide $1.5 million in state bonding funds to help build a community center near the Lake Wobegon Trail Head.

The mayor told elected officials he’s been working for the last few months with State Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) on the bill.  St. Joseph is in her district. The estimated cost to construct the community center is $2.5 million with a portion of that being covered by local half-cent sales tax, local fundraising and city financing, according to city documents. The cost includes land acquisition.

The community center is projected to be a single-story, 28,100 square-foot building of meeting and activity space. A second phase of the project could include the addition of a government center. The government center would be adjacent to the community center.

The existing city hall was built in 1979 as a bank building and converted to a city hall in 2000. Options considered in preliminary meetings about a new community/government center include these:

1. Adding onto the existing building.

2. Leveling the site and building a two-story facility with the police department on the bottom or on the main level and with city offices on another level – something that could allow for more parking.

3. Leveling the site and finding parking externally, then using the entire site for a one-level shop.

The city is working with construction management firm R.A. Morton and architectural firm Hagmeister Mack Architects for the project.

Elected officials have not approved any final plans for the community center.

TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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