The City of Faribault has formed a Community Center Task Force to begin looking into the feasibility of building a new Community Center within the community. Specifically, the group - led by the consultants at HGA - is looking into site selection, facility amenities, concept design, community engagement, market analysis and an operational plan.
On Aug. 17, from 5 - 7 p.m., the Task Force will be holding an open house to discuss with members of the community the work that has been identified thus far, including preferred amenities within the facility, a proposed location and more. The Task Force is looking for feedback from the community about what's being proposed. The event is being held at Buckham West Senior Center, 19 Division St. W., Faribault.
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.
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.