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Officials look to next step as consultant wraps up

CC FACILITIES STUDY

Officials look to next step as consultant wraps up

Charles City Council and Floyd County Board to meet Nov. 23

Tuesday morning representatives of Floyd County, Charles City, Charles City Community School District and the Family YMCA met with FEH Design representatives Kevin Eipperle and Emily Hilgendorf for the last meeting of FEH Design’s contracted services.

The purpose of this final core committee meeting facilitated by FEH Design was to review and discuss the recommendations and options developed at this point. Committee members were also prompted to begin considering and planning for the next steps.

Floyd County Supervisor Roy Schwickerath said there will be a joint workshop between the Floyd County supervisors and the Charles City Council to be held at 7 p.m. next Monday, Nov. 23. Schwickerath hopes to further discuss the possibility of sharing a facilities for city and county law enforcement as well as the fire department.

“In terms of police department, it’s a logical step to be with the county,” City Administrator Steve Diers said of the upcoming workshop.

Schwickerath and Diers said that no decisions would be made at this workshop but future meetings and workshops would be established in an effort to come to an agreement in how the city and county might share a facility.

Superintendent Dr. Dan Cox reported the district’s Buildings and Grounds committee is working with Charley Thomson of Amelia Management, LLC to further develop a purchasing agreement.

In the initial proposal Thomson’s interest laid within acquiring the historic portion of the 500 N.

Grand building. Charles City Mayor Jim Erb asked Cox about the future of the remaining portion of the building.

According to Cox, Thomson and the Buildings and Grounds committee are in the process of creating an agreement that would encompass the sale of the entire building.

YMCA Director Lance Lasher referred to the FEH Design’s survey comments discussing the building’s future. He noted 35 percent of the community said they’d like to see the YMCA develop a sort of partnership with the school district and offer their services at the high school location. Another 35 percent of those who completed the survey said they would prefer to see the YMCA maintain their current location. The final 30 percent indicated having an undecided preference as to the YMCA’s whereabouts and future facility plans.

Taking the comments into consideration, Lasher brainstormed with his staff ways to please the community along with benefiting the YMCA.

One idea Lasher presented was a partnership with TLC and the school district.

“We’re saying let’s keep our building downtown as a childcare (facility)” Lasher said.

Lasher spoke with Dean Andrews, a member on TLC’s executive committee, about the potential of this partnership.

Andrews will present the idea to the remainder of TLC’s committee and continue to work with Lasher and the YMCA’s executive committee to further develop this possibility. Eventually conversation with the school district will be held to discuss the potential of developing a partnership to offer programs and services to be housed at the high school.

Understanding all projects come at a cost, committee members asked Eipperle for financing recommendations.

“The Charles City community is a super community for getting volunteers…raising money — not a superstar,” Erb said. Eipperle recommended using a professional financial institution such as Piper Jaffray to further explore financing options for the various projects and collaboration goals of each entity as they further discuss partnership. As each representative spoke about their entity’s future goals, Erb encouraged committee members to stay focused.

“Now is the time to push the process,” he said.

Mark Wicks, Director of Chamber of Commerce agreed. “Every year we wait, the cost goes up…enthusiasm wanes,” Wicks said. “Everybody should be thinking about what we want to do by January,” Erb said.

Each entity is equipped with community survey results, goals and priorities. Collaborative meetings between the county, city, school and the YMCA are the next step in developing joint facilities and will dictate the future of each entity.

By Amie Johansen [email protected]

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