AURELIA - A crowd of about 50 Aurelia citizens gathered at the town's 80-year-old community center on Saturday to listen to a proposal to replace the building with a new one. They felt the time had come to build a new center for several reasons, including sagging, cracked, and broken ceiling rafters in the current building, which present a safety issue; the need to meet ADA accessibility codes; need for more storage; the need for more adequate kitchen facilities; and the lack of an adequate facility to house such events as wedding receptions, which are subsequently held in other area communities, such as Alta, Cherokee, and Storm Lake.
Mayor Jeff Bowen and council members Dar Evans and Roger Redig have visited these and other area community centers since last summer to see what they had done. The Everly community center was booked about 250 days last year, and the Alta Community Center is reportedly booked up to two years in advance for wedding receptions.
Mayor Bowen presented a Power Point presentation with a proposed floor plan for a new building, but emphasized that the project had to be taken to an architect, and that the architect would draw up the actual plan. The council's proposal would call for the demolition of the current building, with a new building to replace it. The new building would be approximately 95' by 80', running from the north side of the doctor's office to a point in the current building, with parking added on the north side of the new building. The main hall would be about 58 feet wide and 66 feet long, and there would also be an expanded kitchen and meeting rooms, including a room for the American Legion and Auxiliary which would be on ground level, in contrast to their current upstairs meeting room.
The mayor asked for a "show of hands" from the audience, to determine if there would be community support for such a project. He received a near-unanimous favorable response, so the city council will address the issue at their meeting on Monday December 18, and get the project rolling. Their first order of business will be finding an architect, followed by more community meetings to see the architect's proposed plan, and then starting some fund raisers. The town of Aurelia has committed $250,000 to the project, and Aurelia Municipal Electric another $250,000, so it is estimated that as much as an additional $250,000 will need to be raised through fund raisers and additional contributions.