Community Center Updates
Over the course of the next several months, you're going to hear a lot about the possibility of the City building a Community Center. There have been many discussions in the past, but this year's public outreach will be unprecedented. We want your voice and we need your input before we, as a community, decide if this is the time to add a destination recreation center in the Cottage Grove for all ages. At this point, City staff members are engaging in a feasibility study and wrapping up market analysis. The City will make every effort to listen, study, and recruit funding partners before putting the idea on the November ballot through a referendum question.
Why? In 2017, the City of Cottage Grove undertook an ambitious public outreach plan driven by one fundamental question: "What one wish do you have for the future of Cottage Grove?" 3,729 community members responded. The "My Future Cottage Grove" study revealed the strong desire for a Community Center. A Volunteer Task Force, made up of more than two dozen community members and city staffers, spent 2018 confirming the community's wishes while prioritizing leisure needs and comparing them to existing amenities and services already available in the City. Task force members also visited other metro-area community centers and studied their books.
Who? The residents of Cottage Grove are the participants. In short, taxpayers, voters, residents and their families. Also, potential community partners who would share construction and operating costs.
What? A Community Center that would need to be approved by the community and built for the community. The City really needs to hear from residents!
Where? That's a great question. The City is looking at a few potential locations, and we hope to share some options soon. A lot will depend on potential partner involvement and upcoming discussions. We'll definitely keep you updated and posted as the studies and conversations continue!
When? If we're talking about the discussion, then the answer is now. Currently, city staff members and civic leaders are interacting with community organizations and residents to gather feedback. Public outreach is just beginning, and in the coming months, the City and its architect (locally-based Leo A Daly) will narrow in on a site, refine capital costs and develop operational and financial analysis. A referendum question with the exact details may emerge in August before voters make the final decision in early November. There will be dozens of opportunities for residents to weigh-in with each step.
How? The biggest question you may be asking is "how much"? That's what this process will determine. What do residents want the City to build? Who is partnering on the project? How much will it cost to build and/or operate? We know this is an extremely important question, and we'll keep you updated in person, online, and through social media, as the City receives results throughout the feasibility study.