HOLMEN, Wis. (WXOW) – Over the past seven years, there has been an issue with a lack of space for public activity, which is why the Community Center Committee wants to build a new 22,000 square foot facility.
In the April election, the town of Holland passed a referendum, which agreed for the next three years, to tax every home to help build a new community center at Holmen High School.
The Town of Onalaska did not pass their referendum, meaning they wouldn’t help pay for a new center, and the Village of Holmen wanted to make a significant contribution—until they realized they couldn’t.
The Village of Holmen did some research, finding that it would be against village laws to make a donation without Village Board approval. For the village to donate any money for a new community center, it has to go through the voting process first.
“Holmen doesn’t have any place for the kids to after school. Kids who get involved have to go to Onalaska or La Crosse,” Community Center Committee member Dan McHugh said.
Prior to April’s election, the Village of Holmen said they would contribute up to $500,000 for a new community center—until they realized it was against the law.
“If a municipality donates money to a project like this, it’s almost double taxation, because if people are paying taxes to support the schools, yet they are paying taxes to support the village, part of whose money is going over there. It’s kind of a catch-22,” Village of Holmen President Nancy Proctor said.
The village will begin construction on a new library within the next two years, and possibly add on a new community center to it. Despite the village trying to cater the needs for a new center, the committee said they want a new facility built at Holmen High School.
“There is a gym in there that could be used for walking, that can be used for many different things. There’d be classrooms in there, there’s room in there for the elderly to help if they’d like to come help with the kids,” McHugh said.
If the Village Board would agree to donate money to a new community center, Proctor said she is afraid it wouldn’t be a one-time payment.
“There are concerns, such as ongoing maintenance. Once you build the building, where is the ongoing maintenance coming from? It is anticipated that each of the municipalities would continue to donate into that,” Proctor said.
And while Proctor said the village isn’t against the project, they’d rather be safe than sorry.
In order to possibly avoid any help from the public, the committee is currently in talks with private donors to help fund a new community center.
McHugh said the committee hopes to collect roughly $4 million in funding. It is undetermined how much money the Village of Holmen would like to donate, as their contribution would depend on how much money the committee collects from private funding.
McHugh said their group and the Holmen School District is currently working on a lease agreement. If the committee can raise enough private funds for a new facility, the group would not need any assistance from the Towns of Holland and Onalaska, or the Village of Holmen.
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