Community Center Task Force
Community Center Task Force unveils renderings, preliminary proposal
The idea of a new Community Center in Faribault may be easier to picture with the release of facility renderings, but what these graphics don’t show is the number of substantial steps ahead to make it a reality.
At its final Faribault Community Center Task Force meeting in mid-September, the City’s consultant, HGA, presented a handful of renderings and the proposed price tag of between $70 and $84 million for a new Community Center in North Alexander Park. The current timeline has identified 2027 as the year in which the 110,000-square-foot facility could be built, but a number of hurdles still remain.
And the community will have ample opportunity to further chime in on the plans before then.
The City was initially planning on seeking approval of a local option sales tax, as soon a 2024; however, as part of the 2023 Omnibus Tax bill approved at the Legislature, a 2-year moratorium was placed on local sales taxes. While the moratorium has altered the City’s initial timeline, the City hopes to have access to this funding tool in 2026. A local option sales tax is unique in that it is applied to any sale, lease, or rental of tangible personal items (goods), rather than being applied to property taxes. This means not just local Faribault residents pitch in to help generate revenue. Many communities throughout the state use this method of revenue generation for identified capital projects, and studies show that upwards of 40% of these funds can come from non-residents. If the City were to receive approval from the Legislature, Faribault residents would have the opportunity to vote on the referendum imposing the tax during the General Election.
The City also intends to request state bonding in the coming years to help fund the project.
While the timeline for a new facility is still quite fluid, City staff intends to update the Faribault City Council and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and seek feedback on the next steps.
The Task Force looked at a number of locations within the City for the two-story facility, but opted for the location just north of the Faribault Family Aquatic Center due to the land being City-owned, its connection to trails and other park amenities, and further establishing North Alexander as a community and regional park destination.
The facility would include the following on the main level:
- Fitness Area w/ Cardio, Press, Weights
- Four-Gym Flexible Fieldhouse
- Indoor Aquatics Center
- Lap Pool
- Current Ribbon
- Play Features
- Indoor Play Structure
- Racquetball Courts
- Small Fitness Studio
- Child Watch
- Multipurpose Program/Meeting Spaces
- Parks and Recreation Office w/ Reception
- Building Mechanical & Service
The second floor would include:
- Walking Track overlooking Fieldhouse
- Large Fitness Studio
- Roof Terrace
- Building Mechanical & Air Handling
The site review plans also identify four pickleball courts and a basketball court outside of the facility on the south end, with trailhead parking available to the north. In addition to parking lots, access to 20th Street NW (Hwy. 3) was also identified as a preferred option to improve access to the facility.
See below more about the Task Force's efforts, and learn about the various meetings it held before reaching this point.
City looking to build new Community Center
The City of Faribault has retained HGA to begin looking into site selection, facility amenities, concept design, community engagement, market analysis and an operational plan.
A "Community Center Task Force" has been established to begin meeting with HGA consultants. These meetings are 'public meetings' similar to a Planning Commission or City Council meeting. As the Task Force begins putting together a framework for the proposed Community Center, there will be two Community Engagement Open Houses where the greater community will be invited to provide feedback.
As of May 5, the following items have been identified to be included within the facility.
- Walking track
- Indoor aquatics with a lap area
- Fitness area
- Racquetball courts
- Kids’ Play Area
- Meeting and Party Rooms
- Teen Area
- Other spaces and outdoor amenities yet to be determined
We want your feedback
Following two meetings between the Task Force and the consultants, we're now seeking feedback from the greater community about what they'd like to see featured in a new Community Center.
The five-question survey will take less than 5 minutes, and will allow the Task Force to begin selecting preferred amenities both inside and outside of a Community Center.
Task Force Meeting documents
Please find below additional information that's been discussed as part of the Task Force meetings.
May 4, 2023
Future meetings are scheduled as follows. All meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the Buckham West Conference Room (19 Division St. W, Faribault, MN 55021). Documentation for these future meetings will be added as they near.
May 25, 2023
June 22, 2023
Aug. 3, 2023
Aug. 17, 5-7 p.m., Buckham West (19 Division St. W)
The City was initially planning on seeking approval of a local option sales tax, as soon a 2024, which is required of both the Legislature and Faribault voters. However, as part of the 2023 Omnibus Tax bill approved at the Legislature, a 2-year moratorium was placed on local sales taxes.
A local options sales tax is unique in that it is applied to any sale, lease, or rental of tangible personal items (goods), rather than being applied to property taxes. This means not just local Faribault residents pitch in to help generate revenue. Many communities throughout the state use this method of revenue generation for identified capital projects.
With the recent moratorium, the City intends to continue the current planning phase, but future direction will be needed from the City Council as it relates to funding/timeline/etc.
While the City is currently working with HGA to look into site selection, facility amenities, concept design, market analysis and an operational plan, there’s no set timeline to build a facility. The City was initially planning on seeking approval of a local option sales tax, as soon a 2024; however, as part of the 2023 Omnibus Tax bill approved at the Legislature, a 2-year moratorium was placed on local sales taxes. With the recent moratorium, the City intends to continue the current planning phase, but future direction will be needed from the City Council as it relates to funding/timeline/etc.
Why a new Community Center?
Our current facility is 45 years old, and while we work to keep up with maintenance, we’re restricted in being able to offer our community what it’s long asked for: more activities (for youth and adults) and programs, more gathering spaces and things to do for kids and teenagers, meeting spaces and classrooms, and more.
The current Faribault Community Center was built in 1978 as a “Family Y.” In 1988, the “Y” defaulted and the City of Faribault acquired the facility. During a construction project in 1994, the Buckham Memorial Library joined walls on the east side of the Community Center. In 1996, the Faribault Area Senior Center opened on the west end of the Community Center. In 2019, the Faribault Area Senior Center (now known as Buckham West), which is a separate nonprofit not affiliated with the City, expanded its facility. The current Community Center has a 25-yard, 6-lane swimming pool, single gymnasium, small fitness room, two racquetball courts, a single meeting room and locker rooms. In 1999, internal changes were made to the facility.
In 1999, the Washington School was acquired and is being used as a satellite community center, the Washington Recreation Center. It is comprised of a small half gym and four meeting rooms.
Major - timely and needed to continue operations - have been made to the current Community Center over the years including replacing the pool filter system, replacing the HVAC units and replacing the roof.
Our pool is nearing the end of its life. At nearly 50 years old, much of its infrastructure is on its way out.
What would happen to the current Community Center?
If the City were to move ahead with building a new Community Center, it's unclear what would become of the current facility. There have been many discussions about what it could be used for, but it's not the City intentions to continue operating the current facility if a new one were to be built.