As momentum builds in the capital campaign for The Community Center at Five Island Lake, take a look at the commitment that is moving the community forward.
The vision of growth, featuring Five Island Lake, is predominant. The community has invested $5 million in dredging, shoreline stabilization and watershed improvements over the last 20-plus years.
"This investment, in addition to improved water quality, has increased boating, camping, fishing and housing," said Kirk Haack, a member of the Strategic Team. "We are seeing the beginning of changes around Five Island Lake."
At a community meeting earlier this year, Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deb Hite reminded everyone, "Tourism works for Iowa and it works for Palo Alto County."
Palo Alto County ranks 31 out of Iowa's 99 counties for the total number of expenditures made by travelers and visitors. In 2011, tourism generated $31,850,000 in Palo Alto County. That is an average of $248.63 daily spending for lodging, shopping, food, transportation and entertainment.
In 2009, the City of Emmetsburg challenged Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation to develop a plan that provides maximum utilization of the lakeshore site purchased in 2008. A feasibility study completed in 2009/2010 surveyed over 410 people and determined the best use included a new community center available to all citizens.
"The community center is designed to be a centerpiece showcasing the lake and the community," said Haack. "The business plan is built around the expectation of attracting people and new events and retaining events that are currently leaving us for neighboring communities. The vision is not to take anything away from existing businesses, but provide opportunities to expand."
"We are very fortunate to live in a community that recognizes the financial and quality of life benefits the new Community Center at Five Island Lake will provide to the people and businesses in the area," reported Kris Ausborn, Strategic Team Chair. The total projected investment is $2,500,000. Construction and landscaping is estimated to cost $2,300,000. An additional $100,000 is reserved for building change orders and equipment. Anticipating operating losses the first few years, $100,000 is also set aside to cover operating deficits.
The Community Center Capital Campaign steps in to these funds, relying on support from the community.
"The City of Emmetsburg and Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities are contributing a total of $750,000. The Strategic Committee is completing the first phase of achieving the fund raising goal of $1,750,000 in private and business support," Ausborn said. Pledges received in the first phase make the project possible. The second phase is just beginning and focuses on sustaining the momentum for the project through support of businesses and advocates of the Community Center. The third phase is set to begin in September and focuses on families and individuals. "This phase is the most important as the success of the Community Center depends on community-wide support both during the capital campaign and in the years ahead," stated Ausborn.
"We encourage everyone to consider a pledge to the Community Center project and appreciate donations of all sizes. An area reserved in the Community Center will prominently recognize every gift," said Ausborn. Pledges may be paid over a period of one to five years and also qualify for an income tax deduction.
In addition to recognizing every donation, gift recognition levels will include pledges up to $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 or more. Supporters providing donations of $1,000 or more will also have the opportunity to have an engraved brick placed in the Terrace overlooking Five Island Lake. Private and business pledges to the Community Center at Five Island Lake currently total $1,071,500.
"The Community Center will be built for our, your family and your future," said Tony Kauten, a member of the Strategic Team. "The project is much more than a building. It is a focus of our community on a single goal, making a brighter tomorrow for all those who choose to live, work or play in Emmetsburg and Palo Alto County."