By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — A library and community center in Elk Mound has taken another step closer to becoming a reality.
The Elk Mound Village Board agreed in February to put the former beauty shop and Laundromat building in the village’s name if the Elk Mound Community Center Committee provided the funds to buy it for $10,000.
At the March 6 meeting, the Elk Mound Village Board agreed to use village funds to buy the Laundromat building with the understanding that the community center committee would pay the village back by the end of the year.
The community center committee is working on a variety of grant applications, including the Bremer Foundation, Dunn Energy, Independence State Bank, Royal Credit Union and WestConsin Credit Union, noted Andy Peterson, village president.
The committee also is planning to send out between 3,000 and 4,000 letters soliciting funds, he said.
The village had originally planned to build a new library, community center and storm shelter on the lot next to the new village hall using funds generated by the community center committee.
Raising funds to build a new library and community center would take many years, Peterson said at the March 6 meeting.
Remodeling the old Laundromat and beauty salon for a library and community center would cost about $150,000 and could be accomplished must faster than a new building, he said.
“In the short-term, it makes more sense (to remodel the Laundromat),” Peterson said.
The library now located in the interrogation room at the Elk Mound Police Department at the new village hall is a branch of the Menomonie Public Library.
The Menomonie Public Library will supply books, shelving and an employee to run the library.
Once the Laundromat is remodeled and the community center meeting room is available, the library will be able to generate funds to pay for utilities, for example, by renting out the meeting room, Peterson said.
The Village of Elk Mound will not be supporting the library financially, he said.
Several village board members wondered about insurance on the Laundromat building.
The Laundromat building would be covered by the village’s state property insurance, and adding one more building to the insurance will add a minimal amount to the insurance premium, said Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer.
“You will not see much difference (to the total) by adding one building to the insurance,” she said.
After the Laundromat building is remodeled and the library has moved, the Menomonie library would plan to hold technology classes for Smart phones, computers and other digital devices; the building will have wireless Internet, Peterson said.
Village Trustee Travis Wenzel wondered if the village has $10,000 available.
The budget includes a contingency fund, and yes, Elk Mound has $10,000 available, Hahn said.
The current library service already is successful, and more services available in the new building will make it even more successful, Peterson said.
Swati Lall, owner of the Laundromat building, had initially asked for $5,000 for the building a year ago but is now asking $10,000 and has agreed to sell it for that amount.
The building needs to have the roof replaced, and the work must be completed before the building can be occupied, Peterson said.
The Elk Mound Village Board voted 6 to 1 to purchase the Laundromat building for $10,000.
Peterson, Wenzel, Tom Gilbert, Jackie Swartz, Patrick McDougall and Deborah Creaser-Kipp voted in favor of the motion.
Village Trustee Tony Schrantz voted against the motion.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:
• Learned that four applications had been received for the police chief position. The employee relations and safety committee will review the applications. Another committee will be appointed to interview the candidates.
• Appointed Mike Tietz to the Elk Mound Plan Commission.
• Created a savings and checking account for the Elk Mound Community Center and Library. An account is necessary so that donations for the project can be deposited in a designated account.
• Approved hiring Kyle Holzwarth as the summer maintenance employee for $8.75 per hour and not to exceed $3,000 without village board approval. Holzwarth will start work on or about May 18.