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Dysart's Capital Campaign update

June 20, 2014
Pam Thiele - Mayor of Dysart , Dysart Reporter

A group of eight area residents traveled with Mayor Pam Thiele to Des Moines on Wednesday, June 11, to update the Vision Iowa Board on the fundraising prgress for the renovation of the Dysart Community Building and rebuilding of the Park Stand Band Shell/Pavilion. The City of Dysart has requested a $176,000 Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) grant from the Vision Iowa Board. A requirement to be eligible for this grant is to conduct a community capital campaign, also in the amount of $176,000. The fundraising started last November and is currently at $155,467, just $20, 533 shy of the goal. "The board has been very receptive to our plans the last five months, and they have asked us to return to the July meeting with all of our funding in place," stated Mayor Pam Thiele. "In order to begin construction early this fall, we would hope to have a decision on our CAT grant in July. No money can be spent on this project until the grant is secured, therefore each month we are short of the goal the start date continues to be pushed back," added Thiele. Renovations to the Community Building will cost $812,000, which is 93% of the total project cost. The Park Pavilion portion represents 7% of the project at a cost of $68,000. "The Community Building was built in 1937, and has been well maintained through the years. The planned renovations are the next logical step to preserve this historic structure so it can continue to serve the community," said Thiele. A new lobby will be added to the front of the building and an elevator will be built. Air conditioning will be installed to serve the upper level (the lower level is already air conditioned) and updates will be made to the kitchen and restrooms. The second component of "Remembering our Past, Renovating for the Future" is to build a pavilion in the Dysart City Park. "I know there has been some concerns raised as to why we are doing this part of the project at this time," Thiele acknowledged. "The City Council and myself began exploring cost estimates for both the Community Building and Pavilion in May of 2012. We were responding to the results from the DDC's annual surveys from several years which listed both of these projects as top priorities that the residents wanted. As the cost estimates began to come in, we realized we would need to do the Community Building improvements in three phases, over of period of seven to ten years to spread out the cost. The Pavilion structure was always on the back burner, giving precedence to the Community Building. Plans were being made to set up a separate fund drive for the pavilion structure which would be built entirely from donations," said Thiele. "Then in August of 2013, we started to look into the Vision Iowa grant program to see if it could assist us in the cost of renovating the Community Building. Suddenly we realized that by applying for various regional grants and the Vision Iowa grant we could afford to do all the needed upgrades for the Community Building at once, bringing in thousands of dollars in grant money to the community," Thiele recalled. "The Council was then advised by outside sources that we should put both projects together for the Vision Iowa application. One of the areas the board focuses on is improving community gathering places. These two projects fit in that mold perfectly. By combining both of these, we should be able to capture 30% of the costs for both projects in grant money which in turn will give us more of the donated dollars to work with for the Community Building," noted Thiele. The total cost of both projects is $880,000. The Capital Campaign will take care of 20% of the cost and the City is poised to receive 30% in grandt dollars. The City itself will be contributing the additional 50%. On July 1, the City will be submitting another report to the Vision Iowa board, so it is very important to have reached the capital campaign goal by that date. The board will review the city's progress, and on July 9, campaign volunteers will travel to Des Moines with Mayor Thiele to appear in front of the board once again. "We will be hoping for a positive outcome, but we need to have all of our funding in place for that to happen," replied Thiele. So far, approximately 250 people and businesses have contributed to the capital campaign. There will be a permanent honor roll displayed at the Community Building to recognize everyone that is making these projects a reality in 2014. "The City Council, capital campaign volunteers, and myself extend a sincere thank you for the support of these projects. Anyone that hasn't made their gift to these wonderful projects is encouraged to do that now please, prior to the July 1 report," stated Thiele. If a pledge would fit into your budget better at this time of year, those will also count towards the goal. Stop in at City Hall to fill out a pledge sheet and you will have until April 1, 2015, to make your gift. In addition, if you would prefer to support just one of the projects, please note that on your donation or pledge sheet and it will be directed for that project only. To contact or meet with a campaign volunteer, please call Roxanne at city hall, 319-476-5690. Contributions can be dropped off or mailed to Dysart City Hall, 601 Wilson Street, PO Box 686, Dysart IA 52224.

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