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Community center plan evolving

Rosemount residents gather Monday, May 20, inside the community center to share feedback, ask questions and get answers about a concept plan for a new recreational center. Kara Hildreth / Contributor

ROSEMOUNT — Curious residents engaged in discussion Monday about the potential new recreational facility.

Mark Wentzell, an architect with 292 Design Group, led the open house May 20 at the Rosemount Community Center. He offered a presentation and residents gathered at tables, listened and discussed the needs and wants.

Gauging the community's appetite for a new recreational facility began in January 2018, Mayor Bill Droste reminded the crowd. Committee members spoke to many groups, reviewed a market analysis and financial study and then decided to move forward.

Seated at circular tables Monday, citizens were posed questions:

  • What's your biggest question?
  • Does it excite you enough for us to keep going?
  • Would or your family come here?

One resident spoke of interest in having a pool diving board for school competition. Another voiced the need to serve teens' recreational needs and suggested a climbing wall or other pool features.

Sandeep Singh of Rosemount asked about the potential operating costs; everyone learned there is no answer yet, but projected construction costs is $29 million plus another million to land.

Singh said he, his wife and 6-year-old son would use the new facility since now they travel to utilize the offerings at the Eagan YMCA. Singh said he came to Minnesota from Cleveland, where residents pay city taxes that Minnesota does not have. Singh said he would be OK with paying both a membership fee and an additional amount on his property taxes to support a new recreational facility.

Right size

The facility proposed would be approximately 80,000 square feet. This is not as big as the facility in Inver Grove Heights but larger than the center in Hastings.

"Every community has an appetite of what they think is appropriate for their community, so we try to take a sense of that and come up with a facility that is right size for your community so it provides you with activities but not build so much that you can't afford it and also regret that you did not build more, which is a difficult target to hit," Wentzell said.

These types of building rarely pay for themselves, he added.

There may be many income streams such as fees for swimming lessons. There is ongoing discussion with the YMCA. In some community partnerships have been formed with the county, school districts and even the National Guard sharing in the financial operations.

Baseline data

The presentation outlined a demographic analysis of service area.

"Your primary service area is large enough to support a facility — you are not a small town and Rosemount has a large participation rate for your community with recreation and so a recreation facility is very viable," Wentzell said.

"The market analysts we hired as a subcontractor and architect said that we are wealthier, we are younger and we have more kids than the national average, and he told us those things and he said you can likely support a facility," said Logan Martin, city administrator.

Rosemount reports a higher percentage of household incomes that earn more than $50,000 and this is higher than the national average.

"That is a baseline income that they use for people who can afford to pay for recreation," Wentzell said.

In Rosemount, 8% of the community earns less than $25,000 a year and that is quite a bit smaller percentage than the national average with that income level. The facility would allow for scholarships or subsidies.

City officials have met with stakeholder groups from District 196 Public School and District 196 Community Education, Hope Fieldhouse, Rosemount High School administration and coaches, Rosemount Area Athletic Association, Salvo Soccer Club, Rosemount Area Hockey Association and Blackline Aquatics Club.

Estimated costs

Wentzell showed a PowerPoint presentation and broke down the numbers for projected costs to build the recreation facility. The construction comes in just under $29 million. This does not include land, extraordinary site and development costs that could run more than $1 million.

The breakdown is:

  • $24,946,513 for construction, site development, parking lots, driveways and landscaping.
  • $1,127,500 for furniture, fixtures and equipment, testing survey and sewer availability.
  • $1,621,523 for design and engineering fees
  • $1,247,326 for a contingency fund.

Martin said the study has by intention moved along more slowly and with more purpose so not to miss anyone with the goal of making it a more successful process.