By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — What is the next step for building an addition with bathrooms and an elevator to serve all three floors of the Colfax Municipal Building?
Mark Johnson, president of the Colfax Commercial Club and a member of the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group, suggested to the Colfax Village Board at the September 24 meeting that the village board should think about appointing a committee to work on raising funds to pay for an elevator.
The committee could include one village board member as well as representatives for the Colfax Commercial Club, CMBRG, the Colfax Public Library Board and Colfax Public Library Director Lisa Hurlburt, Johnson said.
Cedar Corporation has completed a preliminary set of plans for an addition that would house the elevator and handicapped accessible bathrooms on each floor of the building, he said.
The cost estimate of $700,000 is based on construction taking place in two years and includes the normal inflation that affects all construction projects for each year they are delayed, Johnson said.
The cost estimate also includes remodeling the basement to make it a usable space, he noted.
“The village board (should) authorize a commission to plan or oversee the next step in fund-raising and letter writing for grants,” Johnson said.
“I think it’s a good idea. I’m in favor of it,” said Gary Stene, village president.
“When it comes right down to it, the village board would have to approve (a project for an elevator),” he said, noting the municipal building is public property.
The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission periodically sends out lists of grants that are available, and some of those grants require a public-private-non-profit partnership.
A commission or a committee appointed by the village board would be the first step in establishing such a partnership.
Stene also noted that a committee could work on a capital campaign and contact “Colfax alumni” — people who grew up in the area, graduated from Colfax High School and remember going to the library and movies in the municipal building auditorium.
The person appointed from the village board could be a member of the property committee, and if there is only one village board member, there would be no problems with the open meeting law, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
If the village board were to appoint three trustees to the elevator committee, however, then the elevator committee would have to post regular notices, she said.
“I think this is a great way to go about it,” Niggemann said.
Johnson said he was not expecting the village board to take action on appointing a committee immediately but wanted to bring up the idea to the village board so they could think about it.
“We will think it over and put it on the next agenda,” Stene said.