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Rambling River Center nearly done

The new banquet room at the Rambling River Center will seat more than 100.

Even people who used to work at Farmington's old city hall might have a hard time recognizing the place these days. Flooring has been replaced in much of the building. Walls have been painted and in some cases removed.

In a little more than two weeks, the building will become the new home of Farmington's Rambling River Center, a place for the city's seniors to gather and participate in activites. The move will give seniors a lot more space, and it will allow Rambling River Center coordinator Missie Kohlbeck to add some new programs, among them opportunities for seniors and teens to do things together.

To date, with events such as Kiss the Pig at Rambling River Days and with the sale of naming rights in many of the building's rooms, seniors have raised a little more than $42,000 to pay for the project.

On Tuesday, Kohlbeck led a tour of the nearly finished building.

You've got all kinds of space here.

Yeah, we do. It looks nice, too. I don't know if you remember what it looked like when it was city hall, but it didn't look so hot.

When is the anticipated opening?

Oct. 5 we'll reopen over here. We're going to be closed over there from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 and reopen on Monday. Then we're going to have a ribbon-cutting grand opening on Oct. 19.

How has the process gone?

It's gone good. Really good. People have been amazing. I was counting volunteer hours maybe a month ago already and we were over 1,600 volunteer hours.

When you talk about teen programs, is there an idea yet what kind of stuff that might be?

Just a lot of brainstormed ideas, like battle of the bands or some DJ dances or maybe a Wii tournament.... We don't have anything really set. We'll be working more on that once we get in. But it's looking really good.

It's got to be fun to watch it come together.

It is. And like I said before, all those volunteer hours, the community businesses that have donated and not just the money but their time as well. Happy Harry's has offered to help us move.... We've had donations from Farmington Plumbing and Heating. CG Construction. I'm going to forget somebody here. I don't have it all in front of me.

The room naming is kind of unique. It sounds like you've had a good response to that.

We've had a very good response to that.... Really the back banquet room and the craft room are really the only ones left. And the whole building. If someone has a lot of money and wants the whole building named after them, we would love that.

You've got the number for the fundraising. Where is that compared to where you want to be?

Well, the council gave us five years to raise the money and pay it back. So on our thermometer it's listed as five-year goals, but I want to clarify it's not that we're done at that point one year. We would like to get as far as we can toward the five years as quickly as we can because we realize that people's interest is going to wane if it's not new. So several people have said to me, "Congratulations, you've met your one-year goal." And that is very exciting and that is very exciting ... but that doesn't mean we've stopped for this year. We're going to keep going and do as much as we can.... We would really like to be done in two years or three years.

You've got another fundraising opportunity coming up with the garage sale Saturday.

Correct. And then our waffle breakfast on Oct. 25. And then the metro dining cards are in for us, which is a fundraiser.

The members have been enthusiastic going out and raising money?

They've been good.

Which was the case with the old location. They did a lot to raise money there.

Some of those folks are still around, obviously not as active as they were 27 years ago. But yeah, it's been kind of fun to talk to some of those people who say they remember, or even people who don't remember doing it themselves, but they remember their parents doing it.

With all this new space, all these new rooms, are you coming up with new programs? Or are you kind of letting what you've got expand?

We've got some new program in the works, but for the month of October we're not planning everything new. We're just going to let everything expand. Right now some of them are pretty squished where they're at and they can't really grow anymore because there isn't room to take anybody else. So we're hoping that expands itself. Then as we get into November and December and of course next year we'll be adding programs, so we are excited about that.

Are you ready to move?

No. Not quite yet. We'll get there.