ST. JOSEPH -- After years of trying to get a community center built in St. Joseph the idea may actually become a reality. During Monday night's meeting, the St. Joseph city council voted to hire an architect to design the building.

Back in May of 2017 the council at that time accepted concept plans for a community center, but that project incorporated using the former Kennedy school, which the city has since sold.

Mayor Rick Schultz says the new plan is for a completely new building near the old school and the government center. However, many of the amenities will be the same including library space, meeting rooms, an area for the historical society, and a recreational area.

I think there are two separate aspects and I'm not exactly sure how the architect is going to do it, but there's certainly an element of a senior center along with some education space, and then on the other side is the Wetterling Activity Center with gym space, exercise space, and things of that nature.

The preliminary budget for the project is $10 million with $4 million coming from state bonding money approved by the state legislature last fall and $6 million from the city's half-cent sales tax dollars. Schultz says additional fundraising could add more amenities.

The city council is hoping to select an architect in the next month and start working on designs and then break ground sometime next year.

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