by Dennis Dalman
Public input about a Sartell Community Center will be welcome at a public hearing set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 20 at Sartell City Hall.
Numerous interest groups will be at the meeting to present suggestions about what they would like to see as part of a community center. Groups include those interested in sports, activities for senior citizens and such topics as the arts and local history. All Sartell residents are invited to attend to offer ideas.
Those who cannot make the April 20 meeting can watch it broadcast live on local cable Channel 181. The video of the meeting will also be available for viewing on the city’s website at www.sartellmn.com. Residents can also give suggestions or other comments concerning a community center on that website. To give input, go to that website, then under the photos in the middle, look for “Upcoming City Projects” and under that click on “Submit community ideas or comments to: email@example.com.
Another way to submit input is to write ideas down and bring them to Sartell City Hall, attention City Administrator Mary Degiovanni.
The April 20 public-input meeting will be hosted by the city’s community-center consultant team. First, there will be an outline of the city’s planning process. Second, there will be time for participant introductions who will answer two questions:
- What is a community center to you?
- What facilities, indoor or outdoor, does the group you represent want in Sartell?
Finally, there’ll be time for public participation from the audience, with each speaker allowed two to three minutes to give opinions.
The Sartell City Council, with input from city staff, approved a preliminary project schedule for a center late last year. So far, the first two steps (selecting an architect and construction manager) have been completed. April 20 will be the first of many public-input meetings through June 2015. Construction is expected to proceed sometime in 2016.
The architect hired is HMA Architects, and the construction manager is Strack Construction. Both companies are based in St. Cloud.
So far, no location has been chosen for a center. That is because planners first must know what residents want a center to include. They will then have an idea where a center will best “fit” in the city. Once input is complete, planners will scout out several potential locations for the city council to consider for approval.
Up to this point, the city council has allocated $1.6 million of revenue from the half-cent regional sales-tax revenue to be used for the center. Since area voters, including those in Sartell, authorized last year an extension of the regional sales tax, future revenues from that source can be used for the center, including possible options such as gym space and a pool. The sales-tax extension will begin in 2019 and last for a 20-year period.
A Sartell Community Center has been a long time coming. Ten years ago and more, residents expressed a desire for such a center. Some of the amenities they said they’d like to see in a center are a branch library, a senior center, meeting spaces and a pool.
While the half-cent sales tax could cover the construction of a community center, the operational costs will not be known until it’s decided specifically which amenities such a center will include. And that is why the city is encouraging all members of the public to take an active interest in the center by submitting their ideas, questions and comments.