City of Arlington Announces Capital Campaign to Build New Community Center

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The Arlington Community Center kicked off the public phase of its capital campaign today, announcing that private donations of $500,707.23 have helped push the “Raze the School, Raise the Community” capital campaign near the halfway mark toward its $1.1 million goal.

Arlington Community Center

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The City of Arlington is in the midst of changing the landscape of their community and bringing citizens closer together by building a community center at the site of the old Arlington School.

The Arlington Community Center kicked off the public phase of its capital campaign today, announcing that private donations of $500,707.23 have helped push the “Raze the School, Raise the Community” capital campaign near the halfway mark toward its $1.1 million goal.

“It’s amazing to see our small community come together to build toward a common goal,” said Jeri Watson, Raze the School, Raise the Community campaign chair. “We had a handful of lead donors who committed generous gifts that have helped us get to this point, and we are still in the process of contacting many other major supporters. We are appreciative of the gifts we have already received and cannot thank the donors enough for their commitment to our community and the future of this city.”

A United States Department of Agriculture grant has been critical to the campaign’s success, providing $200,000 toward the project, helping to kick off campaign efforts.
The 10,820-square-foot community center is expected to be completed in 2015. It will be built on the same property as the Arlington School building that has been closed for three decades. The community center will consist of Little Star Daycare, a community room, a full kitchen, a meeting room and a fitness room.

The Arlington School building has not been tended to in years and asbestos has become a risk to the community. Most of the costs of asbestos removal and demolishing the old school
building have been covered by grants and are not included in the fundraising goal. Pieces of the old school will be incorporated into the new community center.                            
One key element to the new community center will be the addition of the Little Star Daycare. By moving the daycare to the new location, the community hopes to improve handicap accessibility and increase the overall space of the daycare facility to better serve the city of Arlington. The new facility will offer separate classrooms for infants, toddlers ages 2-3, children ages 3-4 and kindergarteners; laundry, kitchen and office areas; and an outdoor playground. With the new space, the daycare would like to offer a Head Start program.

“Every town needs a daycare, and Arlington is proud to have Little Star Daycare,” said Joan Boardman, an Arlington parent and member of the campaign steering committee. “As a parent, the new community center will offer so many opportunities for our family, including a larger daycare center for our children. It will give our community more space to play, learn and grow.”

The community center will be open to host a variety of activities from receptions and reunions to graduations and meetings. The city intends to rent out the center for these types of events to help subsidize the cost of operating the building. It will provide a convenient location for local activities so community members do not have to travel outside of Arlington to host receptions and meetings.

“I am excited to see what the community center will bring to our community,” said Arlington Mayor Donald Handel. “We will be transforming an eyesore in our community into something we can use. The new building will mean so much to the future of the City of Arlington. The new community center will help preserve memories and provide a place for future generations to make memories of their own.”

The campaign kickoff marked the public phase of the campaign, and Jeri Watson, the campaign chair, encouraged people to consider creative ways to give to the project.    

“To help build the new facility, the capital campaign has established a variety of ways for people to give,” said Watson. “Gifts can be made in cash or securities, bequests, life insurance, real estate, grain or personal property.”
“We are very thankful for all the donations we have already received. By kicking off ‘Raze the School, Raise the Community,’ we hope the excitement will spread to others and motivate them to be part of something great for our community.”

For more information on the Arlington Community Center, visit http://www.ArlingtonIA.com or contact the City of Arlington at 563-633-2345.
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Lori Blackburn
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Mary Jo Brown
City of Arlington
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