Like the Clarkfield City Administrators before him, Scott Weske has picked up on the trail that hopefully one day will lead to a community center for the city.
Clarkfield has toyed with the idea of a community-center-like space for decades and over those years has taken incremental steps toward that goal, yet due to a lack of funding and a vacillating passion for the project, the city’s efforts have largely been fruitless.
In reviewing the history of the Clarkfield City Council in the course of his administration Weske found the loose ends of the piecemeal project that was begun in the open garage space adjacent to City Hall that once housed the city’s fire trucks before they moved to the Emergency Medical Services building north of the city.
Weske’s background for the project only extends back to 2007 when the city first started considering the open City Hall space for a possible community center, where events like wedding receptions and large meetings might be held.
According to Weske a construction survey and estimate were done in 2007. That survey found that to just do the bare bones of the project like insulation, cooling and heating it would cost the city roughly $55,107.
Meanwhile, in 2008 a community-wide survey was conducted that showed that the city’s residents were overwhelmingly in favor of Clarkfield pursuing a community center—with most believing that the ‘old fire barn’ would be the best choice of location.
Architectural estimates for the remodeling of the ‘old fire barn’ said that there could be round table seating for about 190 people and row seating, with a small stage in front for about 220 people.
In his memo on the subject to the council Weske included this breakdown: “While the existing space (the old fire barn) is not optimum, the next question is whether the city can afford the cost to expand and maintain a larger space. Other possible locations were discussed but discarded as too expensive or not appropriate for the need. The most reasonable solution continues to be making the old fire barn into a more usable space. This location also offers the opportunity to improve the facility over a period of time without increasing the community tax burden for the project.”
As previously stated, small steps toward this goal have already been completed with the council recently installing a new garage door to the building and installing a handicap accessible entry way.
To protect what the council has already accomplished, Weske made the following recommendations for building improvements: Update wiring to conserve energy versus what is currently installed, update heating and cooling vents to regulate the costs of operation, frame the north and east walls of the building, spray foam the walls with insulation and ceiling if feasible to do so, sheetrock the north and east walls, place eight foot protective border around north, south and east walls and acid wash the floor and seal it.