Open letter to the community: Where we've been, where we are, how to move forward to the finish line.
Where we've been: Over the past three months our committee has gathered information from as many sources as possible. We have visited many facilities; we talked to owners, managers, caterers, and event planners in order to make rational and informed decisions about our proposed community center. We have had several meetings with the steering committee of ECDC. In last Tuesdays edition The Democrat and Reporter listed the areas we agree. I won't take the time to repeat that list.
Where we are today: We have had our final meeting with the steering committee. We disagree on the following points:
Size and cost of the facility-the ECDC committee prefers the original 10,400 square foot building at a cost of $1,500,000. We have compromised from 5,000 to nearly 6,500 square feet at a cost of nearly 1 million for a difference of $500,000.
Design of the facility-we prefer a smaller building that enhances the beauty of the area. We feel a large box type structure actually detracts from the beauty of the lake.
Ongoing operational costs- the larger structure will be more costly to maintain and will have a higher operational budget due to higher employee salary and benefit costs.
Parking-Parking is limited with 74 spaces available for golfers, employees, and those who will be attending an event at the community center. We think a smaller facility would reduce this problem.
How to move forward:
Step one: The concerned citizens committee has always felt that the survey completed in 2009 was premature and lacked focus. We think it is time to survey the people of Emmetsburg. Today, more than ever people are focused and tuned into the process of creating a community center. The people have listened to our proposals, they now have options, and they are ready to voice their opinions.
We have invited ECDC to join our committee to formulate a short survey to be conducted through the Municipal Utilities monthly billing cycle. Those who complete the short survey could mail it back to EMU or drop the survey off at several locations.
Step two: After the survey results are tabulated, the City Council would have a vote on which proposal they wish to fund with tax payers money. This would be an open process and each council person would be on the record.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone involved in this process. Our meetings were conducted in a professional manner and even though we disagreed on several key issues we did so respectfully.
(signed) Pete Hamilton
Concerned Citizens Committee