Council To Move To Final Design Phase For Proposed Event Center

Council ChambersSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council heard a report from City Manager Scott Wynja on the proposed event center project, or “The Lodge at the Crossing”, at their meeting Thursday afternoon.

Wynja told the Council that he and SCDC Director Curt Strouth presented the proposed plan to the Vision Iowa Board yesterday in Boone.  Wynja said they learned that there is about $7.34-million in Vision Iowa Grant money available, and the Board has received 17 funding requests totaling $8.4-million.  Wynja said that each project was allowed 10 minutes in which to complete their presentation, but that he and Strouth were in front of the Board for approximately 20 minutes answering questions.  He said the Vision Iowa Board had indicated that they want to see as much local funding as possible for the project.  He said the Board indicated that Sheldon’s proposal asked for a grant of approximately 25% of the total cost, while the Vision Iowa Board normally only funds 18-20% of project costs.

Wynja also told the Council that the project had received a pledge from an anonymous donor in the amount of one half million dollars, which brings the total amount of pledges to approximately $700-thousand.

Councilman Ron Rensink made a motion that the Council proceed to the next step in the design process for the event center project, so that the City can know what the actual cost of the facility would be.  He commented that, “we might discover that we can’t afford the project, but without taking the next step we can’t know for sure where we are.”

Councilman Randy Fonkert said his major concern with the project is the expected $107-thousand annual operating loss that was projected in the initial report.  He agreed, however, that the Council should go to the final design phase and get hard numbers to help them make a final decision.  It was agreed that there are a lot of questions that can’t be answered until the final design and numbers are in.

The Council voted unanimously, save for absent Councilman Greg Geels, to proceed with the final design phase of the project.

In other action, the Council voted to waive the second and third readings of the ordinance on raising the City’s Hotel/Motel Tax, an increase that was approved by Sheldon voters earlier this month.  Mayor Katricia Meendering told the Council that the tax increase cannot go into effect until at least 45-days after the election results are canvassed by the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors.  She said that the City has requested the Iowa Department of Revenue to waive that 45-day requirement.

The Council also approved an application for the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team from Diane Cale-Steinbeck, and approved Student Fire Applicant Brandon Winkel to the Sheldon Fire Department.

In other action, the Council set the date and time for a Public Hearing on the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan.  That hearing will be held at 4:30 pm December 4th.  They also set December 18th at 4:30 pm as the time and date for a Public Hearing on the Updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the City.

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