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Community center grand opening June 2

Mike Reeve to step down as recreation coordinator
A new sign, financed by the Solon Area Community Foundation, welcomes users to the new Solon Community Center. A grand opening for the former middle school will be held Saturday, June 2, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The new Solon Community Center is slated to open Saturday, June 2.
A grand opening for the facility, located at 313 S. Iowa St., will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
But by the end of June, the city will have to find a new recreation coordinator to oversee it.
At a May 16 meeting, city council members approved usage and rental fees, rules and summer hours for the community center, as well as job descriptions for some of the employees who will be operating it.
The job description for the recreation coordinator, however, was withdrawn from consideration after it was announced the current occupant of the position, Mike Reeve, will be stepping down.
City Administrator Cami Rasmussen asked for some time to review short-term and long-term options for filling the post before approving the formal description.
Reeve, along with Rasmussen, Public Works Director Scott Kleppe and council liaison Mark Prentice, have been working with the city’s recently-formed Recreation Advisory Committee over the course of several meetings to create a framework for the opening of the community.
The resulting rules of operation and fees were unanimously approved by council members.
The city is leasing the building for $1 a year from the school district, which will maintain ownership of the Iowa Street collection of structures, and will continue to utilize the 1917 tower for administrative offices.
The school system will also use the gymnasium between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. during the school year and will contribute $12,000 annually for its share of utility costs. The school will be responsible for routine maintenance and minor repairs, while major projects costing $5,000 or more will be discussed jointly by the two local governments.
A new position, recreation site attendant, was created to help man the former middle school building. The city is currently advertising the position with a wage of up to $10 an hour, Rasmussen said.
“If you don’t get any applicants for people to hire, what’s the plan to open?” asked Mayor Steve Stange.
Rasmussen said the facility would be staffed internally or with volunteers.
Five types of users were identified by the advisory group in the new fee structure: City/School/Political; Dedicated Space; Non-Profit Groups; Private within Solon Community School District boundaries; and Private Outside the District.
No fee would be charged for city, school or political activities in the facility, according to the new policies.
“Why is political no fee?” asked council member Lynn Morris. “Do we have to?”
“You can charge,” Rasmussen said. She said the library hosts a number of listening posts for legislators, and does not charge for the use of the room. The community center was following in that spirit, she added.
The costs for groups seeking dedicated space within the community center for continued use throughout the year will make a negotiated contribution or provide volunteer services for the facility, Rasmussen noted.
Each of the other categories of users has a separate schedule for fees to use the gymnasium, cafeteria, band room, class room or auditorium. For the gymnasium, the rate ranges from $25 an hour for non-profits to $100 an hour for private use by individuals outside the school district.
To receive resident rates, 75 percent of a group or team seeking to rent the facility will need to reside in the Solon district.
“That’s a great idea,” noted council member Shawn Mercer.
Citizens of the City of Solon will additionally be granted a $5 discount to posted “resident” rates.
Rentals at the community center will require a $30 deposit.
People wanting to use the facility for indoor walking can do so for $1 a day, or $20 monthly. Walkers can offset the monthly charge by volunteering two hours each month.
The same rate will be charged for open gym times, although three weekly open gym times will be offered at no charge: from 8-9 a.m. on Saturdays, and from 4-5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.
For the beginning of operations, the center will be open six days a week, closed only on Fridays.
The building will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m.; Tuesdays 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. and 4-8 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
“This is really just getting the building open,” Rasmussen said. She anticipated changes would be made as the city gained more experience with operating the facility.
Rasmussen said city staff hopes to have the facility rental program available on the city website sometime in June.
Beginning June 2, she said, people can call the Solon Community Center at 624-2499 to reserve space or email their request to recreation@solon-iowa.com.
“This is a huge undertaking, in cooperation with the city and the school district, something new to all of us,” council member Steve Duncan. “This is going to grow.”