Rec Center may close
Building’s heating system a concern
By Bert Lehman
Due to concerns about the building’s heating system working this winter, the city of Clintonville is taking steps to close the Rec Center building prior to winter.
The issue was discussed at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on July 25.
Justin McAuly, Parks and Recreation director for the city of Clintonville, told the committee that it took more than a week to get the boiler running prior to last winter. He added that $3,000 to $4,000 has been spent on the boiler over the last three years.
McAuly said he is concerned that the city won’t be able to get the boiler at the Rec Center to work prior to the upcoming winter.
“We can probably get it going, but it’s been very difficult to find parts,” McAuly said. “I just would like to have some sort of direction. I have a feeling I should probably be out of there by winter. That’s just my feeling.”
McAuly’s office is located at the Rec Center.
He added that the city should make a decision soon about the status of the Rec Center for the upcoming winter in order to allow the Clintonville Area Food Pantry time to find a new location.
“It’s only fair to them to make a decision soon as to whether we want to heat that building this winter,” McAuly said.
Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland told the committee that through her discussions with representatives from the food pantry, they are looking for direction from the city as to its plans for the Rec Center building.
She added that the winter tumbling program the city offers might have to be cancelled if another location for it isn’t found before then.
“With that, the only other reason to have that facility open is going to be to have Justin there, and the food pantry in there,” Eveland said.
The cost to heat the Rec. Center is “astronomical,” Eveland said.
“With as little of the building that is actually being used for human occupancy, it doesn’t make financial sense to continue to use the facility,” Eveland said. “I don’t recommend we keep putting off making a decision as far as the occupancy of it.”
Eveland told the committee that the food pantry understands it doesn’t make sense to heat the building just for it.
Committee Chairman Steve Kettenhoven asked where McAuly’s office would be moved to if the Rec. Center closed.
Eveland said McAuly could temporarily move to the Clintonville Community Center.
Regarding the food pantry, Eveland said the city isn’t obligated to help the food pantry, but she feels the city has a responsibility to help it.
Committee member Jim Supanich agreed that the food pantry isn’t the responsibility of the city, but since Clintonville is a low-income city, he recommended working with the food pantry to relocate.
Supanich said he feels the Rec Center needs to be closed, but the decision should be put off until the next Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. In the meantime, more information can be gathered regarding the ramifications of the decision.
“I think this has been coming for a few years,” Kettenhoven said. “We just keep trying to put it off and hope something would happen.”
Supanich recommended the city inform the food pantry that the Rec Center probably won’t be heated this winter and it should plan to move prior to winter.
Eveland also informed the committee that she created a survey for community members to fill out regarding the future of the Rec Center. She said community members can find the survey on the city’s Facebook page.