Needs assessment next step for Nevis community center
Supporters of the Nevis Community Center received the Nevis City Council’s blessing to move forward with a needs assessment to determine what features people would like to see incorporated into such a project.
Emily Whitaker, who is spearheading the concept, recapped some of the needs a community center might be able to meet, including hosting larger meetings and family reunions. A bigger kitchen could benefit the Meals on Wheels program as it grows.
“I’ve been looking into a variety of grants and am requesting to form a committee in conjunction with the city to start with a needs assessment to see what we can afford and what that would look like,” she said. “Many of these grants I can’t get without city approval, and I need city input. You guys know the ins and outs of the community. I need access to planning and zoning. I’m not asking for any money from you guys, but I would like two city council members to sit on this committee and bring in their input and guidance in this process. Once we have that information, we can formulate a proposal to apply for grants. There are a lot of communities around here that got upwards of $600,000 for their community development projects. I’m optimistic that if we work hard and come up with a really good proposal we would be in the running for a lot of these grants and wouldn’t have to raise taxes or levy it. We would also create revenue with the building.
Whitaker described the needs assessment as a baby step that is a great way to compile information to get a picture of what the community center might look like. “Basically, we’re asking people for their input,” she said.
Once community needs are identified, the next steps would be to explore locations, how to finance the center and who would run it.
“We do struggle in this community for enough space to hold bigger groups,” council member Jeanne Thompson said. “Let’s start with the needs assessment and see where that takes us. We recognize there’s definitely a need in our active community to have a space where we can come together more.”
“There’s no cost in the exploration,” Mayor Jarod Senger said. “And there’s a huge gain at the end if things go the way we all optimistically think they would go. And I would volunteer to be on the committee.
Council member Teresa Leshovsky said she is also interested in joining the committee. Getting a member of the planning commission to be on the community center committee was also suggested.
Fire Chief Chris Norton suggested looking at the possibility of piggybacking with the fire department for grant purposes.
Whitaker said the committee is open to exploring partnering with other interested groups as well.
“A community center increases home values and brings in a lot of people,” she said.
An audience member asked when the council meeting room would be converted to off-sale liquor if the council approves that project and Thomspson estimated a year to a year-and-a-half.