by Heidi L. Everett
At the April 19 St. Joseph City Council meeting, the future Jacob Wetterling Recreation Center took a step towards becoming reality. The council approved a motion to seek proposals for design and construction services.
The proposed site for the center is located about four blocks from downtown St. Joseph, east of the St. Joseph Government Center and Little Saints Academy on 8.35 acres.
The City of St. Joseph has been planning for a community center for a number of years and in 2017 had a schematic design completed. When the former Kennedy school building was sold January 2021, discussions on the community center plan were reopened.
Among the amenities the city is considering incorporating into the project are library space, gyms, walking track,and fitness space, a kid zone, pool, meeting space, St. Joseph Historical Society and St. Joseph Food Shelf. Potential outdoor features include grass areas, picnic areas and a splash pad. The request for proposals notes this list is not intended to be exhaustive or a guarantee of inclusion.
The project will be funded by a $4-million bonding request from the state, and the City Council committed $6 million from half-cent regional-sales-tax dollars. Additional fundraising efforts will be forthcoming.
Proposals are due May 20 no later than 4 p.m.
All proposals will be reviewed by an evaluation panel consisting of the city council, city administrator and finance director.
Following the review, the evaluation panel will determine a shortlist of the most qualified firms for an in-person presentation at a joint meeting of the Community Center Committee and City Council.