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Group Gathers to Discuss Hinckley Community Center

A group gathered at the Hinckley Community Center Monday night to discuss the future of the building.

Built in 1994, the center served as a gym space for the school district until recently.

With the drop-off in use for a space, City Administrator Kyle Morrell says the building is becoming a financial drain.

"We are struggling with revenue. There is not a need for a space like this... The facility averages about $7,000 a year in rentals, and it costs us on average about $50,000 a year to manage over the last five years."

The city had representatives from the design firm ICS on hand to present four potential options for the building:

  • Remodel the Existing Community Center into an Event Center and Library (estimated cost of $2,500,000)

  • Build a new building to house the Library and Event Center (estimated cost of $3,250,000)

  • Build a new Library (estimated cost of $2,022,000)

  • Do nothing with the building (estimated cost of $46,000 a year plus deffered maintenance expenses)

An impromptu survey was held with most in attendance being in favor of doing nothing with the building for now.

Morrell said the interest in including the library with any sort of renovation would allow the city to take advantage of a state construction grant that is focused on library remodels. Any event space that would be built at the Community Center would be aimed at offering smaller meeting rooms.

When asked about usage, the library said that they serve around 30 to 40 people a day and have people requesting smaller meet spaces three times a week on average. They would also like extra space to provide more programming and to expand the technology space to include more than the four already existing computers for the public to use.

One attendee said that the city has "champagne taste on a beer barrel budget" in response to the proposed options. He was concerned about how much a small community would use the building if they went forward with the expensive changes; however, he did not want the city to lose the space and was in favor of moving the library if it would get utilized properly.

Another community member at the event proposed that the Community Center should become a youth center with programming to give area kids something to do. Mayor Don Zeman replied by asking who would run it since the city is not in the market to run a business.

Zeman said that he was in favor of the idea if someone came to them with a plan.

While there seemed to be more questions than answers following the meeting, Mayor Zeman said the goal of the event was to get the discussion going and glean the Hinckley community's thoughts and feelings about the project.

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