PARDEEVILLE — Village officials here are exploring the possibility of offering an amenity that’s available in some neighboring Columbia County communities — an indoor space for parties, meetings and other events.
Because there are many details yet to be ironed out, the Pardeeville Village Board decided at its Dec. 19 meeting to continue the discussion of a new community center at the board’s next meeting on Jan. 16.
Among those details: what kind of building it might be, and where it might be located.
Trustee Brian Hepler said he’d like the community center to have space for about 300 people, so it could be used for events such as wedding receptions.
Hepler said he has a concept for a building that would include a meeting space, offices and other rooms, on multiple levels.
Village Administrator David Tracey said another option might be a single-story building, designed and constructed by a firm such as Cleary Building Corp., based in Verona. Cleary’s products include not only pole barns and other agricultural structures, but also municipal structures such as garages, fire stations and village halls.
Trustee James Buckley said he envisions a Cleary building as being a more open structure than the building envisioned by Hepler.
Buckley said he sees the community center as something for people of all ages, including senior citizens organizations and youth groups.
But Hepler said he thinks the kind of building should be decided only if and when the Village Board agrees on a location.
There are two, possibly three, locations that could be considered, Tracey said.
If someone were to make a firm proposal for a location that village officials could consider acquiring, he said, then that proposal would be discussed in closed session, and the closed session would have to be included on the Village Board’s agenda. Wisconsin law allows public bodies to discuss negotiations for property acquisition in closed session.
Tracey said it’s possible that a grant could help pay for a community center. If village officials should apply for the grant, he said, it’s likely that they’ll need firm plans to present, even if they don’t yet know where a community center would be located.
Wherever it is, Hepler said, it’s important that it have ample parking.
In 2010, Cambria village officials accepted a grant of $76,800 and a loan of $435,200 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program for community facilities, to acquire property on Highway 146, formerly the location of the Enerson and Eggen implement dealership, for a new fire station.
Cambria Village Clerk Lois Frank noted that the community room, created as part of the new fire station, is a popular gathering place for all kinds of events, such as high school graduation parties.
However, the USDA loan and money was granted to acquire the land and buildings for use as a fire station. The creation of a community room — whose primary use is as a training facility for firefighters from throughout the area — was an effort of the Cambria Fire Department, Frank said.
“The firefighters put their blood, sweat and tears into fixing up that room,” she said. “They cleaned it up, redid the counter area and finished off the kitchen.”
The fire department, and not the village, oversees the operation and rental of the community center at the fire station.
The village of Wyocena, seven miles south of Pardeeville, also has a community space available for the public to rent — a gymnasium that is part of the village offices.
Frank added that Cambria also has a community room with capacity for 100 people at a time. There’s a kitchen, but alcohol cannot be served there. In the fire department’s community room, alcohol can be served with state-required licensing for whoever is renting the room.
The question of whether alcohol would be permitted in a Pardeeville community room is one of the issues that need to be addressed.