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Talks continue about a Rosemount Community Recreation Center

Rosemount City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission listened to a feasibility study during a recent joint work session.

Architect Mark Wentzell of 292 Design Group reported there is an appetite in the community for more recreational space indoors. A new center could offer residents outdoor field space, indoor pool facilities, an indoor walking track, along with turf and court space.

A potential community center could include amenities for all ages, including a teen center or a casual gathering space for seniors or community groups.

Many questions still need to be answered before a potential community center can be built, however.

How much would the facility cost to be built and operate? Who would pay and who will become partners? What could a facility offer residents and how could it attract new residents to town along with potential new commercial or industrial businesses?

Last November the city hosted an open house to gather feedback from stakeholders that was well attended. The open house gave the public a venue to listen and share feedback about needs and wishes for amenities if a new indoor community center would become reality.

Wentzell and city staff met with representatives with Independent School District 196, Rosemount Area Athletic Association, Rosemount Area Hockey Association, in addition to leaders of the nonprofit organization, Hope Fieldhouse.

Hope Fieldhouse is planning to build a new 42,000-square-foot community rec facility for the public in Rosemount.

Rosemount City Council voiced how they want a potential new facility to offer amenities for all age groups, yet that the indoor community center is affordable.

The school district has voiced strong advocacy for a new pool that would give the swim teams a potential competitive pool with diving features and would allow the public to take part in family aquatic recreation, as well as be available for water exercise.

"They (the school district) have displayed that some have interest in partnering with us," said Rosemount City Administrator Logan Martin.

Rosemount Parks and Recreation Director Dan Schultz said the school district may look at forming a partnership once the feasibility study is finished.

Some area school districts have invested in paying for a competitive diving area or lap pool or locker areas. In future months, partnerships can be forged when plans are drawn up with more specifics and blueprints of the community center, Schultz said.

Talks have taken place with YMCA that has shown past interest in building a facility in the area. The city is also looking at a potential partnership with a private health and fitness club like Life Time Fitness.

Because Rosemount is home to older school buildings, Wentzell said the school district is aware how Rosemount residents have been on the short end.

"We recently met with the superintendent and they want to keep the conversation going," Martin said. "There are no guarantees but they are open to talking about it."

A new community center would need at least 15 acres that will allow for a large parking lot and room to grow in future years.

"We have looked at land on the east side of town since development is going that way and when you think about open tracks of land, they are on the east side of town," Martin said.

The city has looked at three or four pieces of land in the Akron Avenue area, most likely near the UMore housing development that will be breaking ground and developing in the future years to come.

If an indoor, community recreation facility became reality in Rosemount, this building would be attractive as far as economic development. Companies may be more willing to locate in town and families may be encouraged to build a new home or move near a recreational facility, Martin said.

"There will be opportunities to say come and build near this property that will fit into one of the phases of UMore area," said Martin.

The feasibility study may be complete as early as May or June.

"We have a lot of steps to go through before we get there — we have to go into the design and financial and the outright budgeting of it," Martin explained. "It is going to be turning point in the next couple of months."

When asked about a potential partnership with the city and YMCA, Martin said, "We think we can pull this together and they may be interested."

Rosemount City Council will decide if the city wants to explore a partnership with the YMCA.

When asked if Rosemount residents need to weigh-in on the center with a referendum, Martin said, "It depends on what kind of financial tool, and depending on what kind of bond we sell and that is a big piece of it."

"When you think about putting it up on the east side we will have 1,500 homes with Newland, and with a couple hundred more coming," Martin said. "How much of a better way to help sell those homes, than to plot a rec center out there."

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