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The Best Fit For The Community

April 21, 2011
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

What is the best fit for Emmetsburg?

That question was the topic of discussion at a public meeting with Tom Vance nearly a month ago at the Emmetsburg golf clubhouse. Vance and Associates is the firm that helped on the Smith Wellness Center.

A community center has been proposed to be built on that site -- beside the lake and the golf course. While some are asking, "When will it be built?"?others do not see this as a high priority.

An Emmetsburg Community Development Commission task force toured community centers around the area. They saw things they liked and things they did not like. And they brought their observations back to Emmetsburg.

Questions popped up: the size of the building, functions to be held at the building, a restaurant, a lounge? Would this be competition for the VFW and the casino? How best can we cater to the golf and boating communities.

There were revised drawings of a proposed community center building at the meeting. There was space for recreation, space for meetings and events, and a great view of the lake.

But the nagging question seemed to be, is a community center a number one priority? Tom Vance says a "sense of need" has to grow to get this project off the ground. If the project is going to be successful, there needs to be a broad base of community support for funding as well as for usage of the facility.

Other questions Emmetsburg has to ask itself: What is our identity? What is our vision? How do we see the future? Again, if this is going to go forward, we need to have community support.

Emmetsburg City Councilman and task force member Tony Kauten's thoughts: We need people to step forward and take a leadership role. People need to talk about the project, let the task force know what they think, and ask questions.

Questions popped up: Who is going to take care of the structure? Who will come up with a management plan? Will this cash flow? It's city-owned property, shouldn't the city should take the lead?

Vance countered with even more pertinent questions: Is there a need for the city to be behind this??Is there a need for the community to be behind this??Absolutely yes to both questions. And he added, the best projects are ones with strong public support.

There was a broad base of support when the City of Emmetsburg and Iowa Lakes Community College joined together to build the Smith Wellness Center and the city/college library complex. The people of the community saw the need and provided their support then and now.

Can we achieve the level of support needed to build a community center by the lake? It all starts with dialogue - talk to your City Council representatives; talk to Emmetsburg Community Development members; talk to your neighbors and friends.

The current building at the golf course has served its purpose. The idea of a community center to take its place sounds like a fit for the community. Location - location - location: on the shores of Five Island Lake.

What are your thoughts??Make them known.



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