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Feasibility Study of a Clubhouse Project by fsz51451

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									Emmetsburg Clubhouse/Community Center
Public Input and Feasibility Study

Prepared for
Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation
December 15, 2009

Table of Contents

CONTENTS                                                             PAGE

  Executive Summary ………………………………………………                                 Page 3

  Recommendations ..………………………..……………………..… Page 5

  Report of Preliminary Architectural Design Program
  and Associated Cost
  (Prepared by RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines, Iowa)

  Report of Operational Financial Feasibility
  (Prepared by TPG Companies, West Des Moines, Iowa)


  Report of Public Input
  (This report of all public input was delivered by Hanser & Associates to ECDC
  on Nov. 6, 2009; it is included herein for reference.)

  About Hanser & Associates

Executive Summary
This document transmits all public input, as well as a preliminary architectural design
program and financial feasibility reports, for the Emmetsburg Clubhouse/Community
Center Public Input and Feasibility Study.

Three major findings…

1. Emmetsburg community would support a new facility
   The public input process provided an actionable foundation of understanding
   regarding what the community wants. Among the findings:
      The community wants a new facility.
      There are a range of unmet needs for indoor and outdoor facilities.
      A new facility should, at minimum, include a multipurpose space for meetings
      and social events, and public restaurant for lakeside meals.
      Other features desired by most of the community include a teen center, watercraft
      rentals, youth day camps, lounge (serving alcohol), live concerts, convenience
      store accessible from the lake, senior activity center, children’s theatre or other
      family programs, and bowling.
      If it contained the features they desire, most residents would visit at least monthly.
      Food and beverages would increase frequency, as would indoor and outdoor
      recreation programs.
      About half of residents are willing to increase property taxes for construction; a
      supermajority say they are not willing to fund operation with property taxes.
      Residents are willing to pay fees to use the facility, especially on a per visit basis.
      Two out of three residents say it’s OK for Emmetsburg to hire private
      concessionaires to provide services at the community center.
   (Public input is presented in detail in the Appendix.)

2. New facility amenities and cost would fit the current site
      Preliminary architectural design program would include a new facility on the
      current site.
      The approximately 14,100-square-foot facility would focus on the lakeshore and
      the lake view. Dining facilities and activity areas need to be open to elevated
      decks or terraces and have direct pedestrian access to the shoreline.
      Preliminary pre-design cost is projected at $4,129,290 for a modest facility and
      $5,157,500 for an enhanced facility. Projections include…
      o $200,000 - $250,000 for demolition of the current clubhouse and site work.
      o $3,294,500 - $4,125,000 for new construction.
      o $768,900 - $1,032,500 for miscellaneous costs such as design and
          constructions fees, furniture, kitchen equipment, audio
          visual/sound/technology and signage.
   (The Report of Preliminary Architectural Design Program and Associated Cost is
   presented in detail on the following pages of this document.)

3. Operation of facility would be financially viable
       New Facility: The report of operational financial feasibility envisions that a new
       facility (“Five Island Lake Recreation Headquarters and Emmetsburg
       Community, Conference, Entertainment and Social Center”).
       Positive Revenue Generator: The site and building amenities, as identified by
       the public as priority, overall lend themselves to sustainable financial operations
       per the key site and facility components (14,100 sq. ft.) as related to core financial
       factors. Annual operating revenue projection would be $469,000 and annual
       operating expense projection would be $266,848, resulting in $202,152 net
       Management will be key: Leadership and management decisions will be key
       factors in the success of operational finances.
       Economic and community development asset: This project has the potential to
       be a significant regional economic and community development asset, keeping
       people in the region and community as well as attracting others.
   (The report of operational financial feasibility is presented in detail on the following
   pages of this document. The report includes a decision-making model (components
   and numbers spreadsheet) – key components and calculations can be adjusted based
   on priorities, decisions, and projections as they are adopted by project leaders.)

Project Methodology
The project commenced in September 2009, and was conducted in three phases:
1. Public Input
              Issues Identification (Sept. 30-Oct. 12)
              Identified major issues/questions to understand ECDC/Emmetsburg’s
              needs and precise goals via interviews with Emmetsburg leaders.
              Quantitative Input (Oct. 13-23)
              Got answers via scientific (quantitative) phone survey of your citizens to
              determine what they want and will support with their dollars; and received
              background documents and data.
              Qualitative Analysis (Oct. 26- Nov. 6)
              Conducted qualitative analysis of residents’ input via a focus group on
              Nov. 3 with Emmetsburg leaders to analyze/interpret the findings.
2. Design Feasibility (Nov. 9-13)
   Conducted preliminary design/cost to fulfill what your residents say they want.
3. Financial Feasibility (Nov. 15-Dec. 15)
   Demonstrate the financial viability of operating a facility that your residents say they

Based upon the public input, preliminary architectural design program and costs, and
report of financial feasibility, Hanser & Associates recommends the following next steps
for Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation:

1. Convene a joint meeting of ECDC and City of Emmetsburg’s leaders to:
      Review and discuss the report prepared by Hanser & Associates.
      Address the recommended key next steps listed in the Report of Operational
      Financial Feasibility.
      Solidify/confirm the vision and desired strategic scale and direction of the project.
   Ronald Hanser and other members of our team would be pleased to travel to
   Emmetsburg again to present and discuss the findings, and answer any questions — if
   ECDC wishes for us to attend in person.

2. ECDC and City of Emmetsburg would convene a Public Meeting at the current
   clubhouse facility at which ECDC and City representatives would:
       Present the report, and answer any questions from the public.
       Conduct tour of the current facility to increase public understanding.
   Again — if ECDC wishes for us to attend in person — Ronald Hanser and other
   members of our team would travel to Emmetsburg to participate in a Public Meeting,
   and answer any questions.
Emmetsburg Community Center
             feasibility study
December 10, 2009

To: Mr. Ronald Hanser, APR, President
    Hanser and Associates
    4401 Westown Parkway, Suite 212
    West Des Moines, IA 50266

Re: Emmetsburg Community Feasibility Study

The following Pre-Design Program and Project Budget are based upon the public input summary and conditional
recommendations as prepared by Hanser & Associates, Delivered Nov. 6, 2009 to the Emmetsburg Community Development

The data presented is not based upon a specific building design at this time, but assumes the demolition of the existing
country club building and the construction of a lake-side multi-use public facility of approximately 14,100 gross square feet
on the same site.

Pre-design observations:
    • The facility will focus on the lakeshore and the lake view. Dining facilities and activity areas need to open to
         elevated decks or terraces and have direct pedestrian access to the shoreline where lighted promenades, picnic
         decks, seating, and other amenities might be developed.
     •     The program includes 2000 net sq. ft. of flexible, dividable, unassigned area to accommodate other functions such
           as youth or senior programs, seminars, crafts, retreats, etc. This area may be larger or smaller as the budget
     •     It is recommended that the existing golf cart sheds located northeast of the facility be relocated to enhance the view
           to the lake and strengthen the connection to the shoreline. A landscape screen in this area would provide privacy
           and functional separation between the new facility and the shoreline camping in that area.

     •     As a public facility, the building must be universally accessible and a multi-story structure will require an elevator.
           Preliminary observation of the property does not indicate enough site slope to support a multi-story facility without
           excessive site development. It is recommended that this issue be studied further to determine the feasibility of a
           single-level structure.

     •     It is recommended that on-site parking be maximized as reasonably permitted by the site, without compromising
           the aesthetic qualities of the property. For planning purposes, typical zoning standards would recommend 100 to
           150 parking spaces for a facility of this type. Adjacent areas might be used for overflow parking if necessary.

     •     Because Five Island Golf Course will not have a club house, a very modest “pro-shop” was included in the program
           to accommodate tee times and administration with direct access from the golf course. Close association with the
           lounge is desirable.

     •     A lounge, with limited seating capacity and bar service, is included in the program and needs to be situated to
           efficiently service the banquet area, pre-banquet reception area and the pro-shop.

RDG Planning & Design
2712 Stange Road               Tel 515.268.5155
Ames, Iowa 50010               Fax 515.268.5158              RDG IA Inc
                                                                                                                            page 2

     •     The banquet dining space needs to be a flexible area capable of sub-dividing to groups of 25 to 300 persons for
           dining or other functions. Acoustically effective moveable partitions will be required. Access to exterior decks or
           terraces and a view to the lake are necessary.

     •     The proposed commercial kitchen is intended to warm and serve food prepared off-site for banquets, with food
           preparation equipment for a short-order menu. It needs to be in close proximity to the dining area and lounge to
           efficiently service banquets and public dining.

On the following pages we present:
     • Pre-Design Program Summary
     • Pre-Design Project Budget
     • Diagram of Functional Relationships
     • Site Plan Sketch

Respectfully Submitted;

William H. Dreyer, AIA
Senior Architect
RDG Planning & Design

RDG Planning & Design
301 Grand Avenue              Tel 515.288.3141
Des Moines, Iowa 50309        Fax 515.288.8631              RDG IA Inc
                                                                  pre-design program / budget
                        Emmetsburg Community Center Feasibility Study

                        Pre Design Program Summary                                                                Net Square Feet (NSF)

                         Banquet / Dining:
                            Banquet Area 300 Persons @ 20 sf Per Person                                                               6,000
                                 Flexible Dining @ 25 300 persons, server stations, banquet storage
                             Kitchen:                                                                                                    800
                               Food warming and service, short order food preparation, receiving, storage
                             Toilets and Coats:                                                                                          700
                               Sized to banquet capacity, men, women , coats
                             Entry and Reception:                                                                                        500
                               Vestibule, lobby, pre banquet reception
                                                                                    Total Banquet Net Sq. Ft.                         8,000 NSF
                                                                                    Grossing Factor @ 20%                             1,600
                                                                                       HVAC, Elec, IT, Jan., Internal Circulation, Walls, etc.
                                                                                    Total Banquet Gross Sq. Ft                        9,600 GSF

                         Ancillary Spaces:
                            Lounge/"Pro Shop"                                                                                            550
                                Mini Pro Shop/Tee Times, bar seating (16), storage, service to banquet area
                             Toilets / Entry:                                                                                            180
                                Men, women, support toilets, secondary entrance vestibule
                             Offices and Conference Room:                                                                                550
                                Offices (2), small group meeting @ 10 15 persons
                             Activity Area:                                                                                           2,000
                               Flexible open space, sub divided
                             Support Storage:                                                                                            350
                                Miscellaneous general support storage
                                                                                    Total Ancillary Net Sq. Ft.                       3,630 NSF
                                                                                    Grossing Factor @ 20%                               726
                                                                                       HVAC, Elec., IT, Jan., Internal Circulation, Walls, etc.
                                                                                    Total Ancillary Gross Sq. Ft.                     4,356 GSF
                                                                                                Round To                              4,500 GSF

                                                                                    Building Total Area                             14,100 GSF

                       Creatively influencing life for the better through purpose driven design.

Street Address 1
Street Address 2                  Tel   000.000.0000
City, State Zip Code              Fax   000.000.0000         www.address
                                                                        pre-design program / budget

                       Pre Design Project Budget                                                      *Modest           *(Enhanced)

                            Demolition and Site Preparation                         Allowance            75,000               75,000
                            Hazardous Materials Abatement                           Allowance            50,000               50,000
                            Site Amenitites                                         Allowance            75,000               75,000
                              Utility upgrade, grease interceptor
                            Site Work                                               Allowance           200,000              250,000
                              Parking and drives, landscaping, lighting, terraces, decks and canopy

                            New Construction
                              Banquet Facilities 9600 GSF @ AVE 200$/sf (250$/sf)                      1,920,000           2,400,000
                              Ancillary Spaces   4500 GSF @ AVE 150$/sf (200$/sf)                        675,000             900,000

                                   Pre Design Contingency @ 10%                                          299,500             375,000
                                   Construction Cost (CC) Summary                                      3,294,500           4,125,000

                                   Miscellaneous Owner Cost @ 2% of CC                                   65,890               82,500
                                   Design and Const. Fees, Expenses, Testing, @ 12% of CC               395,340              495,000
                                   Kitchen Equipment                      Allowance                      75,000               75,000
                                         Catering kit., food prep., lounge
                                   Furniture, Signage, Furnishings, Assessories @ 8% of CC              263,560              330,000
                                   AV/Sound, Technology                    Allowance                     35,000               50,000

                                                                       Pre Design Project Total       4,129,290            5,157,500

                            * A Modest Budget implies standard construction with mid range materials such as painted
                              gypsum dry wall, carpet/vinyl flooring, suspended ceilings, standard windows and doors,
                              and pre fabricated fireplace.

                            * An Enhanced Budget implies more spatial development and higher quality materials
                              such as, wood finishes and paneling, carpet/wood/stone flooring, custom glazing, doors,
                              and stone fireplace.

                       Creatively influencing life for the better through purpose driven design.

Street Address 1
Street Address 2                   Tel   000.000.0000
City, State Zip Code               Fax   000.000.0000               www.address
                                                diagram of functional relationships

                         This diagram of functional relationships is not intended to be a floor plan for the facility.
                         It is a diagram illustrating the basic functional proximity between programmed spaces
                         and preferred placement relative to the site.

                       Creatively influencing life for the better through purpose driven design.

Street Address 1
Street Address 2                 Tel   000.000.0000
City, State Zip Code             Fax   000.000.0000   www.address
                                                                                       site plan sketch

                       Creatively influencing life for the better through purpose driven design.

Street Address 1
Street Address 2                 Tel   000.000.0000
City, State Zip Code             Fax   000.000.0000   www.address
TPG Management Consulting, Inc. and TPG Philanthropy Group, Inc.

December 12, 2009

                           FEASIBILITY EXECUTIVE BRIEF
  Provided to the Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation via Hanser & Associates

I. OBJECTIVE: Operational financial projections and feasibility review relative to the community
center project’s strategic positioning and key amenities, as part of the feasibility study to demonstrate
the viability of a facility that your residents say they want.

II. PROJECT’S POTENTIAL STRATEGIC POSITIONING considered during this Feasibility
Study phase. . .
                         “Five Island Lake Recreation Headquarters and
            Emmetsburg Community, Conference, Entertainment, and Social Center
                                 So Close to You. So Much to Do.
 The Recreation and Community Center is part of the Emmetsburg experience, offering unmatched
value in personal enrichment, community connection, indoor events and activities, as well as outdoor
 recreation. There’s something for you here every season of the year −Things to learn, experience,
                              create, connect, be well, and have fun!”

        The site and building amenities, as identified by the public as priority, overall lend themselves
        to sustainable financial operations per the key site and facility components (14,100 sq ft) as
        related to the core financial factors outlined below.
       The “view of and proximity to the lake” are the key assets complemented by the close
       proximity of the site to additional complementary amenities such as the golf course,
       campground, boat ramp, etc.
        This project has the potential to be a significant regional economic and community
        development asset: keeping people in the region and community as well as attracting others.
        Leadership and management decisions will be key factors in the success of operational
        finances – vision, marketing, management, customer service, citizen engagement, and strategic
        partnerships are examples of factors that play critical roles in a community center’s success
        beyond the core market feasibility potential. A Decision Making Model (components and
        numbers spreadsheet) is provided in addition to the support information below – key
        components and calculations can be adjusted based on priorities, decisions, and projections as
        they are adopted by project leaders.
        Recommended key next steps include:
        o Solidify / confirm the vision and desired strategic scale and direction of the project
        o Prioritize the “outcomes desired by the site and facility” and how they meet the
             community and/or regional objectives for economic development and/or community
        o Select the core uses / programming that “give people what they want and will pay for”
             and “collectively provide adequate net revenues for the initiative.”
                                621 S. 26th Street • West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-6459
                    Phone: 515.270.2453 • Toll free: 800.538.4483 • E-mail:
TPG Management Consulting, Inc. and TPG Philanthropy Group, Inc.

        o  Decide on key physical components and scale of each component relative to the priority
           outcomes and selected core services.
         o Develop an appropriately detailed Business Plan for adoption by project leaders and
           endorsed by project stakeholders and partners. The Business Plan should integrate
           financial pro-formas of project components and services, taking into consideration and
           modeling which components/services are provided via strategic partner concessionaires
           and which are provided directly by in-house personnel (paid or volunteer).

As part of the Emmetsburg Project Team, TPG conducted the third phase of the Feasibility Study titled
“Project Implementation Financial Feasibility”. This phase focused on the strategic financial feasibility
of the project’s financial implementation (operations and programming) and does not include a capital
construction financial feasibility test. A full Business Plan is recommended if agreed to and based on
strategic component decisions by project leaders − as we understand such capital is available
contingent upon positive outcomes of this Feasibility Study and planning process lead by Hanser &
Associates and supported by RDG Planning & Design and by TPG Companies. The scope of TPG’s
role in this phase of the project was as follows:
         Review said input information and data,
         Benchmark said data with TPG resources / external sources,
         Conduct our analysis and form our opinions,
         Provide a two to four page summary of our findings, conclusions and next steps and/or
         alternatives recommendations (if any).
TPG was not expected to compile client data nor reformat input documents. While TPG has researched
and written strategic business plans and/or consulted regarding such plan development (for other
community centers, businesses, and public benefit projects) such services were not expected for this
phase of the engagement.

Financial feasibility “inputs pick list” provided by TPG to conduct the feasibility review:
    a. Emmetsburg Community Center Strategic Business Plan with emphasis on the financial pro-
       formas and on the items listed below.
    b. Findings and conclusions for the Research, Survey and Community Engagement / Prioritization
       phase of this project (lead by Hanser & Associates)
    c. Physical site and surrounding local schematics and architects operational benchmarking data
       (provided by RDG during Center and site planning for desired uses).
    d. Expected markets and demographic / economic data regarding each key market.
    e. Kinds of events and number of each annually (attendance projections and financials associated
       with each should be included in the Strategic Business Plan)
    f. Other fee income options and opportunities not included in the business plan financials.
    g. Annotated list of any community cultural, social, political, or economic factors that should be
    h. Emmetsburg Country Club financial statements and audits (most recent 3 years)
    i. List and paragraph description of other potential regional collaborators / competitors.
    j. Anything else that Emmetsburg leaders, Hanser & Associates, or RDG team members feel may
       be relevant to or impact the project’s financial viability.

                               621 S. 26th Street • West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-6459
                   Phone: 515.270.2453 • Toll free: 800.538.4483 • E-mail:
TPG Management Consulting, Inc. and TPG Philanthropy Group, Inc.

Summary and Conditional Recommendations, Report of Focus Group, and Report of Citizen Phone
a. Become a destination for area citizens as well as regional visitors and tourists
b. Dining / kitchen capabilities for events for up to 300
c. Re-establish Five Island Lake Marina on site
d. Serve nearby golf course and golf enthusiasts
e. Serve near-by state park campground visitors
f. Be an indoor/outdoor gathering place / community center including serving as a warming house
   and concession for winter ice skating on the lake
g. Provide range of events, classes, and fee-for-services flexible to address community needs and
   citizen interests.

1. Projected Base Operational Costs (Presumes 14,100 GSF Facility with related site amenities)
   (Please see financial spreadsheet enclosed. Various industry and professional benchmarking
   standards were used during the Feasibility Study analysis process, with key expense benchmarking
   standards listed in the spreadsheet for you convenience.)

2. Key Factors estimated projections considered during the financial feasibility include:
       A.    Banquet/Dining/Event Seating and Kitchen to serve up to 300 people
       B.    “19th Hole” Lounge and Outdoor Enthusiasts Pro-Shop (serving food and a full range of
       C.    Conference / Meeting Room
       D.    Multi-Purpose Activity Area–flexible open space, sub-dividable for programming such
                  Aerobics/Yoga/Pilates-type classes
                  Dance classes
                  Arts and Crafts workshops and demonstrations
                  Laser Tag
       E.    Golf and Outdoor Recreation “Pro Shop” providing services, supplies and equipment for
             sale to golfers, camping enthusiasts, boaters, skaters, fishermen, and others.
       F.    Activities and Events – Indoor and Outdoor spaces used
             Indoor Examples:
                  Parties: Holiday, Birthday, Anniversary
                  Business Meetings / Events / Conferences
                  Golf Tournament Dinners and Fundraising Events
                  Celebrations: Weddings, Reunions, Graduations
                  Movie Nights
                  Card Clubs / Game Groups
             Outdoor Examples:
                  Terrace, Patios, Board walks weddings and events
                  Swimming Beach and canoe / paddle boat concessions
                  Fishing Tournaments (all season)
                  Winter Sports: Ice Skating, Hockey, Cross-country Skiing, Ice Fishing

                              621 S. 26th Street • West Des Moines, Iowa 50265-6459
                  Phone: 515.270.2453 • Toll free: 800.538.4483 • E-mail:
                   A                         B                   C         D                  E                              F

1        Financial Analysis and Basic Decision Facilitation Model
                                     Current Facility                                   Other
                                     (based on 2005 and              New Facility       Benchmarks
2                                    2004 Baseline data) Notes       Projections        and Notes
3 Revenues
4    Net Dining Room                               40,500                      60,000
     Net - Lounge / Bar &
5    Cigarettes                                    51,000                      75,000

                                                                                      Golfer, Fisher, Boater and Camper Conveniences and/or
6    Net Pro Shop / Outfitter Shop                      0 Golf                 35,000 other
7    Rentals                                       10,000                           0

8    Facility and Grounds Rentals                       0                   100,000 Calculated at $2000 per day X 50 days/year
9    Multi Purpose Room Rentals                         0                      25,000 Calculated at $500/day x 50 days
                                                                                      Calculated at $50 for up to 4 hours X 400 rentals per year (8
10   Conference Room Rentals                            0                      20,000 rental per week)
                                                                                      Ice Skating, Hockey, Game Clubs, Movie Nights, etc at $2
     Programs Admissions, Tickets,                                                    per person per activity/session (400 user sessions per week
11   and Commissions                                    0                      40,000 average)
12   Advertising Income                               600                       2,500
13   Raffle Income                                  3,950                       5,000
                                                                                      Is there opportunity to add more docks or otherwise increase
14   Dock Rental Income                             4,000                       4,000 revenue?

     Memberships / Dues and                                                         Could create Member/Donor Program to replace "Country
15   Donation Income                               85,000                   100,000 Club Member Dues"
                                                                                    Several Management options including Concessionaire % of
16   Marina Net                                         0                     2,500 gross sales
     Other including Assessment
     Income, Gain on Equip Sale,
17   Golf Cart Rent, Green Fees                    30,000                           0

23                                     _______________                  __________
     Projected Revenue of Key
24   Components Sub Total                        $225,050                  $469,000
                    A                       B               C         D                  E                                F

                                    Current Facility                             Other
                                    (based on 2005 and          New Facility     Benchmarks
25                                  2004 Baseline data) Notes   Projections      and Notes
                                    Based on 14,100
   Operating                        Gross Square Foot
26 Expenses                         Facility
27   Management                                  $32,000               $40,000
28   General Payroll                              65,000                95,000
     Buildings & Grounds
29   Maint./Snow Removal                           5,000                   6,800 Grounds
30                                                                        23,830 Building Maintenance $1.69/GSF

31   Custodial                                         0                  12,768 $1.33/cleanable SF of 9600 SF
32   Licenses & Permits                            2,300                   2,300
33   Office Supplies                               3,800                   3,800
34   Laundry & Sanitation                          2,900                   2,900
35   Insurance - General                           7,000                  12,000
36   Payroll Taxes                                 8,900                  13,800
37   Utilities                                    13,500                  30,600 $2.17/GSF
38   Telephone                                     2,800                   2,800
39   Miscellaneous                                 3,000                   3,000
40   Legal & Accounting                            3,000                   4,000
41   Advertising                                   1,400                   1,400
42   Cable TV / Internet                             600                     600
43   Property Taxes                                6,600                   6,600
44   Finance Charges                                 120                       0
45   Club Supplies                                 1,800                   1,800
46   Interest Expense                             11,300                       0
47   Equipment Repair                                835                   1,000
48   Security System                                 350                     350
49   Credit Card Expense                           1,400                   1,400
                                                                                 Do project leaders want to account for this with a new
50   Depreciation                                  5,700                       0 facility?
                                                                                 This number needs to reflect the new facility development
                                                                                 debt if any. "Zero" presumes facility will be paid for outright
                                                                                 i.e. grants, donors, underwriting, or a partner entity will
                                                                                 provide the debt payments - such as through tax levy
51   Amortization                                     90                       0 bonding.
52   Dues & Subscriptions                            100                     100
53   Golf Course Expenses                         98,000                       0
57                                     ______________             ___________

58   Projected Expenses Sub Total               $277,495              $266,848

   Projected Excess
   <Deficiency> of
   Revenue over
60 Expenses                                  <$52,445>                $202,152
Public Input Summary and Conditional Recommendations
Delivered Nov. 6, 2009 to Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation

This document transmits all public input – interviews, survey and focus group – for the
Emmetsburg Clubhouse/Community Center Public Input and Feasibility Study.

Based on the public input, Hanser & Associates finds:
   1. There are a range of unmet needs for indoor and outdoor facilities, including:
           a. Space for community meetings and events
           b. Public amenities that draw people to the lake
           c. Indoor facilities serving children (ages 4 to 17)
   2. The community wants a new facility
   3. A new facility should, at minimum, include:
           a. Multipurpose space for meetings and social events
           b. Public restaurant for lakeside meals
   4. Other features desired by most of the community include:
           a. Teen center
           b. Watercraft rentals
           c. Youth day camps
           d. Lounge (serving alcohol)
           e. Live concerts
           f. Convenience store accessible from the lake
           g. Senior activity center
           h. Children’s theatre or other family programs
           i. Bowling
   5. If it contained the features they desire, most residents would visit at least monthly.
       Food and beverages would increase frequency, as would indoor and outdoor
       recreation programs
   6. About half of residents are willing to increase property taxes for construction; a
       supermajority say they are not willing to fund operation with property taxes
   7. Residents are willing to pay fees to use the facility, especially on a per visit basis.
   8. Two out of three residents say it’s OK for Emmetsburg to hire private
       concessionaires to provide services at the community center

Next phase
From this foundation of understanding based on public input, Hanser & Associates will
now prepare a preliminary design and associated costs as well as demonstrate the
financial viability of the recommended facility. We are on schedule to deliver our
feasibility study on Dec. 15, 2009.
Report of Leadership Interviews
Delivered Oct. 13, 2009 to Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation

Ronald Hanser, Ryan Hanser and Erica Turner of Hanser & Associates conducted one-
one-one executive leadership interviews Oct. 7-13 with 21 community leaders (list is
attached to this report). The information was gathered to inform subsequent phases of the
feasibility study.

To each leader we explained:
- Hanser & Associates has been retained by ECDC to conduct a Public Input and
   Feasibility Study regarding an Emmetsburg Community Center
- We were seeking candid input on Emmetsburg’s facilities
- Their comments would not be attributed to them (to be used only in aggregate).

Leaders expressed a universal desire to improve the facility and most are in favor of
replacing the existing building with a larger structure for existing uses. A few think
renovations may be adequate. There is also agreement that a community center project
that benefits the broadest number of residents would meet community approval and be

Below we have listed summarized and verbatim responses to allow for qualitative

   How have you, personally, used the current facility?
        • Types of events
            o Golf-related meeting
            o Golf-related fundraiser
            o Golf outing
            o We used to go to clubhouse for get a drink after playing golf
            o Evening receptions for physician recruitment
            o Campgrounds outside of facility
            o Wedding receptions
            o Kibbie golf outing
            o STORM meeting w/ facilitator and students
            o Golfed there years ago
            o Pool League once in a while
            o Parties
            o Golf, occasionally
          o   One does not use it unless they are golfing or going to the bar.
          o   Went to brunch when they used to do that.
          o   Daughter worked there over the summer and had a good experience.
          o   Graduation events and weddings
          o   Golf-related events at the clubhouse
          o   Wedding receptions

      •   Group size
          o 5-15 people
          o 10-100
          o 10-15
          o 30
          o 50-75
          o 75+
          o 70-130
          o 80-200
          o 100+
          o 100-300
          o 200
          o 250

      •   Frequency
          o One-time only
          o Once or twice annually
          o Annually
          o Twice annually
          o Two-three times annually
          o Frequently, due to golf membership
          o 30-40/year (former Country Club member family); and 20/year during
             winter months
          o May-October (during golf season) use of the clubhouse is at the rate of
             140/year; other months at the rate of 50/year

How does your organization(s) use the facility?
     • Types of events
         o Reception/dinner after golf outing
         o Seed meeting for farmers
         o Corporate events and Holiday party
         o Golf-related fundraiser
         o Fashion shows
         o Class reunions
         o Wedding receptions
         o Fundraisers for Hospital and Fire Department
         o Hosting area administrators as a school principal
         o Interviewing process and reception for new administrators
         o AGP holds Christmas parties there, including this year.
           o   Golf tournament with dinner following at country club building
           o   Wedding receptions
           o   Birthday parties
           o   Various meetings

       •   Group size
           o 20-50 people
           o 30-40
           o 50 to 150
           o 200
           o 200+

       •   Frequency
           o Less than annual
           o Annual
           o Annually or more often
           o Winter months only (annual event)

Is it adequate for these uses?

       •   Space
           o Adequate
           o It is compatible
           o Needs to be larger (300 or so)
           o It is inadequate in every way!
           o Not adequate because it is not ADA accessible; will not use it again
              for that reason
           o No ADA access from parking lot or inside building
           o Currently it is functional only as a coffee shop; it is too antiquated to
              serve any other purpose
           o Yes
           o It is OK
           o The size of the facility is fine, but the campgrounds could be larger
           o Needs banquet space for up to 500, as currently, large groups of
              people must be split up into multiple rooms/levels
           o A main issue is the design (traveling sound from many areas)
           o Handicapped cannot participate
           o Adequate for golf, but “older and run down.”
           o Not the ideal place; need another option
           o Yes and no. Needs improvement.
           o Not a comfortable place, too crowded and hard to move around the
              room at a reception of whenever there is a large group
           o Not ADA accessible
           o Very inadequate!
           o The acoustics are terrible – you can’t hear a thing because of the
              squeaky floors
           o It can be made adequate with repair

       •   Equipment
           o Kitchen does not allow for use
           o No kitchen or staff to cook
           o Food service is lacking
           o Yes
           o Older stuff, but OK
           o Needs (at the least) limited kitchen equipment
           o Very inadequate and out-of-date
           o Substandard and needs kitchen equipment
           o The kitchen is “red tagged” as unsafe and unusable
           o The equipment is probably not adequate; we need a way to make food

       •   Parking
           o Very inadequate, but needs to be paved
           o Parking is bad now
           o Rough lot and bad drainage
           o Low spots in lot are filled with water in Spring
           o Yes
           o Campground parking could be made of grass to cut down on dust
           o Adequate as far as number of spots, but needs resurfaced
           o Parking is very inadequate; it gets wet and dirty
           o Amount of parking space is adequate
           o OK

How much do/would you pay to use the facility for an event or day?
(Note that Emmetsburg City Manager John Bird says current rental rates are: $150 for
the lounge; $200 for the banquet room; and $300 for the entire facility.)
o $100 fee; it should be priced between the current VFW and Wild Rose Casino
o $200 for a meeting
o $500/day for use of facility
o Food charge only; food and drink should be priced competitively with local
o Not sure what the rates would be and don’t know that I would have a need for it
o Would not currently pay to use (or use at all) the facility
o Up to $200 for the day
o Now, I would not pay to use the facility. But if there was a new building built, I
    guess I would pay up to $200.
o Would want any rental cost to include all food and decoration (i.e., the casino)
o $100 to use for an event/meeting
o $500-$700 if we build a new facility
o $300
What other facilities do you use?
      • Events
         o Wild Rose Casino
         o Casino (takes care of details)
         o Casino
         o VFW building for wedding receptions
         o VFW
         o VFW is new (built in 1980) and busy
         o VFW and buffet at Wild Rose Casino
         o Wellness Center at Iowa Lakes Community College
         o Wellness Center at Iowa Lakes Community College
         o Rented out the VFW for a wedding (almost ten years ago)
         o Wild Rose Casino for annual fashion shows
         o Waverly Room at IA Trust & Savings
         o Still attend events at other facilities but have no need to rent anything
         o Catholic Church in Emmetsburg which has a Parrish Center
         o VFW and casino are about it
         o VFW
         o We go to facilities in other towns for movies, skating and other
         o Church
         o Dining room at Iowa Lakes Community College
         o VFW
         o Dining Room or cafeteria at Iowa Lakes Community College
         o Casino

       •   Meetings
           o Wild Rose Casino (since it opened in 2005) for regional events
           o Wild Rose Casino
           o VFW and Wild Rose Casino
           o Pizza Ranch (too crowded)
           o Wellness Center community room for about 30 people
           o Chamber’s former meeting room (now Welcome Center)
           o Pizza Ranch meeting room
           o Bank conference rooms
           o Rooms at Emmetsburg High School
           o Church
           o Dining room at Iowa Lakes Community College
           o VFW
           o Dining Room or cafeteria at Iowa Lakes Community College
           o Casino
           o Iowa Lakes Community College meeting rooms in their Wellness
           o Casino
Are there unmet facility needs in the community?
       • Space
          o We need to boost tourism by drawing people to the lake; that will
             benefit the entire community
          o The community needs new meeting space for “small” groups of 10-
             100 persons; there is no nice and truly “community” facility for small
             social events because the Wild Rose Casino is best suited for groups of
             50-500 persons
          o Other spaces in town are dingy and dirty, and the casino is too
             expensive and out of reach financially for regular folks
          o Size should be between VFW and Wild Rose Casino
          o Kearney State Park (adjacent to the north of Emmetsburg Golf and
             County Club golf course and clubhouse) does not have adequate
             camping space, so anything that provides for additional affordable
             overnight space would be a welcome addition to community.
          o Gathering place for Emmetsburg teenagers
          o Need more locations for teens to gather and relax
          o Not sure there are any unmet needs as far as a facility, but we need to
             focus more on outdoor/recreational options.
          o Affordable banquet space for up to 500 people, but that can be broken
             down into multiple rooms if needed to host two weddings in a night or
             multiple conferences and meetings during the day.
          o Building that is handicapped accessible, and would meet multiple
             needs from the community.
          o Need a space for between 200-250 people
          o Outdoor pool/water park
          o It would be nice to have something handicapped accessible with good
             parking open to the community at a reasonable rate.
          o Something connected to the lake.
          o Nice to have a place to go for a meeting.
          o Yes; there are a lot of buildings around town but “a central building
             housing everyone’s needs would be ideal.”
          o Needs a decent size for a wedding or meeting and still allow other
             rooms for seniors, etc.
          o Need multipurpose place that takes advantage of the lake –
             marina/rentals plus meetings/events and golfers.
          o College is not the best place for a meeting and the casino is too
             expensive. We need a nicer public facility.
          o Yes
          o We don’t have enough for youth to do
          o Need more for social gatherings (wedding receptions)
          o By closing the current facility, we lost the economic development
             potential that comes with the lakefront facilty; if we can’t show off our
             town to visitors potential employee recruits we are at a disadvantage
             compared to other towns.
       •   Equipment
           o We need a community facility with a kitchen
           o Band riser and dance floor
           o Restore the lake access and tie-in; maybe add a marina and year-round
              facilities on the lake as a long-term goal (could be built in phases).
           o Good sound system for music and AV for meetings/speakers
           o Wellness
           o Camping
           o Kitchenette
           o Circular tables
           o Good restrooms
           o Residential kitchen; nothing to produce commercial food
           o Concerned about lack of activity for kids.
           o Yes
           o Bowling on the lower level of current or a new facility, because
              Emmetsburg does not have a bowling facility
           o Dock on the lake is needed, because we have not done a good job of
              connecting the clubhouse facility to the water.

Are there organizations that would be good partners for a new facility?
       • Public sector
          o Iowa Lakes Community College (South Campus is in Emmetsburg)
           o Maybe State of Iowa, due to the adjacent Kearney State Park golf
              course being located on state property
          o Iowa Lakes Comm. College: student groups/government; hotel and
              restaurant curriculum; turf grass curriculum; landscaping curriculum;
              and construction management curriculum
          o City could work with faculty and students in Iowa Lakes Community
              College’s turf program, for example
          o Depends upon the purpose of the building; partnership could be
              created around the purpose
          o Park managers at Kearney State Park
           o Not really. Maybe a park and Recreation board. I think that the
              majority of groups in town have sufficient space for their meetings,
           o Partner with the golfing community
           o The Community College has a carpentry program and that program
              could work collaboratively with the city to help build a community
              center as part of a training program.
           o I can’t see orgs other than the city groups needing to use it because
              they all have their own meeting rooms. Maybe people would use it
              for Christmas parties.
           o I think it would be a City thing, really, as it is City property.
           o The Community College and STORM committee (funds for
              leadership); I know students need recreational things, too.
           o Adjoined with state park… DNR?
    o Denison has bar/restaurant with private lease that works well.
    o Iowa Lakes Community College
    o Community and Attractions funding from State of Iowa; and they also
      have the newer RECAT program to fund public buildings that are
      located on a body of water
    o Iowa Lakes Community College could use the facility for some
      classes and that would provide revenue opportunity for city.
    o Organizatons are not as likely to partner because it is a city-owned

•   Private sector
    o Local banks
    o Wild Rose Casino in Emmetsburg, through the Palo Alto County
        Gaming Commission, puts about $1.6 million per year into the
        Emmetsburg community and county, and the casino is the largest
        charitable organization in the county. The casino is also already the
        largest payor of commercial property taxes, providing about 40
        percent of all commercial property tax receipts.
    o Local civic organizations and service clubs, including Lions club,
        Kiwanis, etc.
    o Funding from Wild Rose Casino
    o Banks can be a community promoter.
    o Casino might give money.
    o Garden Club
    o Scouts
    o Local artists displaying inside facility
    o Can’t pinpoint one. Don’t want it to compete with private, local
        businesses. It would cause hard feelings to pick winners/losers
    o Senior center; I don’t know all the groups. All need a central place to
    o VFW should consider closing their current facility, and moving to a
        new community center to be built on the site of the current country
        club building; they could use the new facility and share
        management/expenses with the city.
    o Not sure if there are any partners to provide funding to the citiy
    o Could partner with the Senior Center to do their daytime
        programming there, and that may provide a funding stream
    o City’s Parks and Recreation department could be officed there
    o Community clubs, like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc., if we give them
        something like a better place to meet.
  What are some issues we should consider in this feasibility study?
  o There was a stigma (now gone) that the country clubhouse was only for affluent
    and was only tied to golf, so we need more access for a cross section of the
    population at any new facility
  o Should we sell off the property for private condo development?
  o It must be positioned as a community resource – accessible to all the people
  o How to use the current Kearney State Park golf course that is adjacent to the club
    house (the course is the only one in Iowa located on state property).
  o It must complement the Kearney State Park and golf course
  o We need to determine who should do it and how it should be done to maintain
    quality facility adjacent to a golf course.
  o The Country Club is right on the lake and that is the ideal location, but we need to
    look for additional ways to utilize that great space and view.
  o Emmetsburg-area teenagers and high school kids need something to do in town;
    they need a gathering place
  o Weak economy now
  o Timing is good now, because these are two-three year plan-build projects – so
    now is right time to start and build it as the recession is ending.
  o Construction is cheap now during recession – good time to build
  o Some people are against change
  o Some community members might be apprehensive about rehab vs building new,
    but I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t see the benefit in building new because of
    the facility’s current state
  o Since it’s owned by city, cost is an issue and the facility has to have a purpose. It
    has to be available for use by a wide majority of the people (not just golfers).
  o People might like to see cost of building vs rehab to be able to address the group
    that will want to know. I also want to see what the goals are for bringing in new
    golf tournaments.
  o Address needs and costs associated
  o That building is so old and dilapidated that if people would look at the whole
    property -- look outside the box – they would realized we don’t promote our lake;
    people drive through and don’t know its there. Make the lake a focal point.
    Everyone should be welcomed to use the lake and that area.
  o Get ideas for special/seasonal events that the community could rely on annually.
    We need to have a good, solid list of events in order to justify money.
  o Biggest thing is going to be justifying something new; a lot of people think there
    are more important things…“a lot of bad streets”
  o “Private group building a trail around the lake running into private property
    disputes”, etc.
  o Area is perceived as ‘golfers only’ but the “city bought it for lake access.” So
    many ideas on what it should be used for… Needs to be a multipurpose center.
  o Biggest thing is the people don’t know what purpose it should serve.
  o Older folks are tight with their money and will find it hard to justify.
o “Status quo is the biggest issue”, but a new building will convert the negative
o Controversy regarding the FIT trail; effort to put in trail on east side of lake
  opposed by small number of landowners.
o We need more family recreational opportunity and economic growth
  opportunity/attraction. Community center could serve as a hub of recreation
o Lake Shore Drive from park to tracks was legally public west of the road, but
  overturned by Iowa Supreme Court and back in private hands though public
  improvements, gazebo etc. are on private land.
o Some discussions about clearing the facility and expanding the campground, etc.
o This town needs to “play nicer” because there is a long-term pattern of mistrust of
  City and ECDC staff who have not shared enough information openly during the
  formative phases of plans; we applaud the input process that is apparent in this
  feasibility process.
o We have to consider accessibility and the value of the land.
o We must fill voids in quality of life amenities in our community, including those
  for our youth and seniors.
o We need the widest possible use, not just for the rich. A place where all feel
  welcome and bring us all together; people will say, “That’s my place.” And
  remember that the city owns the land already, so we have a responsibility to make
  good use of the taxpayers’ $250,000 that the City of Emmetsburg paid to purchase
  the property from Wild Rose Casino.
o Get the input of “the man on the street.”

Are there specific questions we should ask the community?
o How to maintain the beautiful view of the lake?
o How to serve the new needs now (that did not exist 30 years ago) of the younger
   residents and how to fully understand and meet those needs with ideal facilities
   (affordability is the issue for young families)
o Ask community members about recreational activities/options/interest. What
   would people use on the lakeshore besides the obvious fishing, etc. Maybe boat
o What would you use for recreational purpose in that area?
o What would benefit the whole community for that property?
o What events would people participate?
o What kinds of activities do they want?
o Is it worth saving current facility?
o What do they think the needs are?
o What groups would be interested in renting/using it?
o Focus on if they feel like there are enough rec. opportunities and public lake
o What is their view on “nicer public meeting space”?
o Are we doing enough as a community to offer leisure-time activitities for our
o Are we doing enough as a community to maximize the use of Five Islands Lake?
How do you think a new facility should be financed?
     • Construction
         o It should be a combination of public/private
         o City of Emmetsburg and grants from various sources
         o City of Emmetsburg (the owner) has access to funding
         o City sell bonds
         o Ask area businesses to donate money
         o Residents in community could contribute and get their name on a brick
         o The problem right now is that this project will have to compete with
             the trails project for money
         o Casino grants.
         o The Casino has money
         o Combination of public/private like was used for the Wellness Center at
             Iowa Lakes Community College
         o Find a lead donor, and then add funding from the City of Emmetsburg

       •   Operation
           o City of Emmetsburg
           o Must be supported by the tax base in the community
           o We can’t repeat the problem of building something for which there is
             no ongoing funding for operations; the community made that mistake
             with the Wellness Center at the community college but got saved by a
             generous donor.
           o It would probably have to be bonded through the city and I don’t know
             if revenue bonds would be feasible or not because its never been a big
             profit center. The city should fund it but have a use for most citizens.
           o I would be in favor of some tax money being used but not sure how
             the community would feel due to the economy.
           o Fees for room rental.
           o Gas station for boats
           o Concessionaires – restaurant, hotel, etc.
           o Don’t think we need a new facility; don’t see the City spending the
           o It has to be outside sources; tax dollars can’t be used.
           o Operation should benefit the community; it’s not a business and
             wouldn’t generate enough income to pay for itself.
           o “It’s a project you just need to do, like a swimming pool. I wouldn’t
             see it as a money-making venture.”
           o Current facility in the black as a seasonal operation; “I don’t think
             we’d have more cost to run than now.”
           o Combination of public/private like was used for the Wellness Center at
             Iowa Lakes Community College
           o That seems to fall in the lap of the City of Emmetsburg and other
         •   Donors
             o Getting some major donors will help with community buy-in
             o There are wealthy farmers around Emmetsburg who are capable of
                providing all the funding – if they seethe project as a good thing
             o Seek donations and host fundraisers
             o Would nice to have some donors but I do think we could tie the
                community into fundraising and making the community feel like they
                are more of a part of making the community and its center a success
             o Not sure Wild Rose Casino would want to donate because they would
                see the community center as competition to a degree
             o See confidential list of specific individuals that were suggested by
                individuals in the community; this is to be forwarded separately to

  What, in your view, is an ideal outcome for this study?
  o The current facility would be gone and a new one built in its place
  o We need to address a main concern: Meet the needs of youth as well as adults in
    the community.
  o Demonstrate that we need a community center
  o People realize that we need to DO something with the current building; leaving it
    in its current state is not an option – the ideal outcome is to finally answer the
    “what” question.
  o I want to see action taken place following the study. Let’s move on it.
  o I hope you find that we need a facility that is going to meet the needs of several
    groups of people. We need to draw from the needs of all groups, which will make
    the new facility more successful.
  o Current facility is antiquated and we should put in a single level clubhouse.
  o We should just stick with what we have and keep it a functioning but simple
    viable facility. Prefer rehab over building new unless its cost efficient.
  o On-site facility for golfers and others
  o To have a vision that includes all people comfortable using…
  o Make this the town hangout, including youth after school.
  o Restored facility with volunteer labor and a lot of community activities out there
    that avoid competition. Limited food menu out there.
  o Keep the golf course going and turn a profit.
  o “I’d like to see people participate in the study and I hope everyone is on the same
    page. Everybody has basically the same idea – a multipurpose center.”
  o “People will clamor for a public facility that will have recreational and meeting
    space elements.”
  o Youth activities will be requested and supported.
  o We’ll get a big green light to proceed.
  o We will have space that is truly a place of community pride.
o There will be a strong level of support for the construction of a new community
o The facility will be broadened to serve the greatest possible number of
  Emmetsburg-area residents.

Describe the ideal facility...
      • Location
          o The lakefront location of the current country clubhouse building is the
              nicest location in Emmetsburg; so whatever is built there to replace the
              clubhouse should reflect that and be aspirational for the future of our
          o Current location is ideal / use the same location
          o Current location on the lake is beautiful and ideal
          o Raze the current building, and build a new one-story there
          o One-story would be ideal and most functional
          o One level
          o Three floors – convenience store/café connected to the water, meeting
              space on second floor and hotel on top floor
          o Start with the idea that the view of the lake is the biggest asset; build
              on one level
          o Something like the city-owned Boulders Conference Center in
              Denison, Iowa would be good
          o Banquet space for up to 500 people with multiple meetings rooms that
              would also have a kitchen where people could cater in their own food
              and alcohol (and not be penalized for not using the facility’s
              food/beverage service
          o Single level center with a deck and outdoor seating. Limited kitchen.
              Don’t see a need for a basement.
          o Sits right on the shore of the lake… Needs to be a nice-looking
              building and big enough.
          o It should take advantage of the lake location; outdoor
              seating/deck/patio plus flexible usage.
          o Same site, including conversion of the gravel area (currently used for
              camping) and relocation of the golfcart shed to higher ground to open
              up the lakefront for greenspace
          o Same location as current building, but new, single-level structure will
              be better-situated on the site to take advantage of the view of the lake
          o It is where the bike trail begins/ends.

       •   Size
           o It should handle groups of 50-100 people easily
           o 100 people
           o Banquet space for up to 250 people and meeting rooms for 12-25
           o 300 people
           o Bigger than current facility, but not three times as large
    o It needs to be larger
    o Another facility the size of the Iowa Trust banks’ meeting room would
      be good
    o Don’t make it too big
    o Bar area/existing space big enough for golfers.
    o Something twice as big as VFW; would allow multiple events by
      dividing out the space.
    o Twice the current size.
    o 350 people at banquets
    o Large enough to handle multiple functions at once, and would include
      a bar, pro shop, space for boaters.

•   Equipment
    o A small, basic kitchen – big enough for caterers and families to use,
      but not big enough to compete with local restaurants or the Casino
    o Good kitchen is optional
    o Staff on year-round, full-time
    o Lazer tag game onsite
    o Convenience store
    o Patio cafe.
    o Big windows.
    o Fireplace.
    o Ice skating.
    o Deck all the way around the building.
    o Outdoor pool
    o Bowling alley.
    o Miniature golf.
    o Cabins!
    o Community firepit
    o Better campground
    o New roof and windows
    o Update interior
    o Handicap accessible
    o New HVAC
    o Kitchen, but not for food production.
    o Handicap accessible, of course.
    o Kitchen
    o Outdoor patio facing the lake
    o Kitchen should be about twice the size of a domestic kitchen; it would
      be used by families and caterers – it is not a commercial kitchen.
    o Provide loaner bicycles (“take a bike, leave a bike” available in racks),
      not rentals.

•   Functions
    o Community room that people can use inexpensively
    o   General- purpose clubhouse
    o   Broad functionality
    o   Increase the number of camping spots available
    o   Offer a clubhouse area for golfers to gather and also a kitchen and a
        main party/banquet area that utilizes the view of the lake. It could also
        have a lower walkout area with a small area to sell sandwiches and
        other items to boaters.
    o   Convenience store
    o   Café
    o   Meeting rooms
    o   Top floor suites (hotel) to host event guests/travelers.
    o   Better campground
    o   Need a dock where public can rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.
    o   Recreation rentals – boats, etc.
    o   Boat access
    o   Same as now, but add an Irish heritage center
    o   Multi-function use (includes divided banquet space, lounge, game
        room, and patio areas)
    o   Include one cozy “honeymoon suite” on-site, and adjacent to the new
    o   A restaurant. We have 14 restaurants in Emmetsburg but none on the
    o   Update the outside for summer use – lots of windows that can be
        opening in summer

•   Cost
    o Up to $3 million (that was described as “the chocking point” for folks
       in Emmetsburg)
    o $1-5 million
    o $1-2 million
    o $1-$2 million, likely not over $2 milllion
    o Although $500,000 dollars is not much for a building like this, there
       are people in Emmetsburg that would likely say loudly that that
       amount is too much to spend.
    o Not extravagant (speaks to the frugal nature of folks in Northwest
       Iowa); must be seen as functional and cost-accessible for users
    o Set a minimum fee for food, and maintain good quality
    o It doesn’t need to be elite with all the bells and whistles, but must be of
       a quality that people want to use. We need something affordable and
       between the VFW and the Casino.
    o $500,000 to $1 million

•   Finish/feel
    o It should have a “lodge” feel
    o Make is open and welcoming
             o   Should be warm and inviting
             o   Easy access where teens can relax and be comfortable
             o   Nice relaxing atmosphere
             o   Improve the parking and accessibility
             o   Not a hodge-podge like the current facility
             o   Lots of boulders, a deck and tables on the lake front side
             o   In-part separate from golf course but able to complement the course
             o   Steel construction can look OK and may be the way to save money
             o   “It doesn’t look like a building that needs to be destroyed right now.”
             o   Clean, new, modern – with stone and brick and lots of windows.
             o   A connection to nature and the community
             o   Prairie motif (like the lodge at Honey Creek State Park)
             o   Lots of windows, so people will declare, “Look at the view of the
             o   Warm; people will say, “This is where I want to have my children’s
                 wedding receptions.”
             o   It is one with the landscape and lake.
             o   View includes three-ways
             o   Tied together for year-round view

Other comments
  If it’s done right, it would be a wonderful asset in terms of bringing people together to
  celebrate the community and our local businesses as well as to show off to potential
  I am extremely happy that the city has taken on the responsibility and the
  development of a banquet facility. We need this and it needs to be addressed as a
  community center and not as a private golf course club.
  I am aware of electrical problems within the building because of being on the board
  so I think it’s in our best interest to tear down and start new.
  Connect a walking trail around the golf course and along the lake.
  “Seems like I’m in the minority, but I don’t think the community support for
  spending money is not there right now.”
  “It’s a no-brainer that it should be done.“ Other communities have had success;
  booked every day. Over time, it will be very used.
  Anxious to see results.
  It does not matter whether it is new or renovated building, as long as we make it
  something that the maximum number of people can use.
Leaders Interviewed to Identify Issues

1. Kris Ausborn, IA Trust & Savings & P.A.County Development
2. Matt Ballman, senior high school student
3. John Bird, city administrator
4. Ruth Brown, Owner, Heavenly Celebration – bridal boutique
5. Brian Campbell, city council
6. Patrick Degen, city council
7. Stevve Finer, city council
8. Corey Gramwoski, city council
9. John Hand, retired banker
10. Myrna Heddinger, former Council Member & Mayor
11. Bill Huberty, camper and golfer
12. Jack Kibbie, president, IA Senate, farmer
13. Tom Lee, Administrator, Palo Alto County Hospital
14. Page Naig, sophomore high school student
15. Valarie Newhouse, President, Iowa Lakes Community College
16. Dean Newlon, retired school principal
17. Sandy Pelzer, city council
18. Mike Richards MD, president of Wild Rose Entertainment
19. John Schad, Mayor
20. Pamela Smith, city council
21. Deb Walsh, secretary, High School
Report of Citizen Phone Survey
Delivered Oct. 30, 2009 to Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation

A phone survey of Palo Alto County residents regarding an Emmetsburg community center at
the former Country Club clubhouse location on Five Islands Lakes finds:
    Most say there are adequate facilities for indoor (52 percent) and outdoor (60 percent) uses
    A public restaurant for lakeside meals and meeting space for social events are the most
    important things to provide among a range of potential features and activities
    A facility should accommodate up to 250 people for a meeting or event
    Children and young adults are the primary groups seen as underserved by current facilities
    Almost half would support some increase in annual property taxes to pay for construction;
    40 percent would support an increase to fund operations
    Most renters want to pay day rates below $200/day
    Two-thirds support public access to Five Islands Lake, services provided by private
    concessionaires, and replacing the facility if that saves money
    A majority agree that Emmetsburg needs a community center
    Though 87 percent name a new community center a priority, only 18 percent say it is a high

Phone surveys of 389 residents in the Emmetsburg school district were completed Oct. 21-28,
2009. Respondents were representative of the overall population per US Census Bureau data.
Margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

Data follows in table form; final report will include cross tabulations, charts and additional

1. Gender (by voice)

 Option           Count          Percent
 Male                 187           48.1
 Female               202           51.9
         Total:       389           100

2. In which city do you live?

 Option               Count       Percent
 Ayrshire                    2        0.5
 Curlew                     9         2.3
 Cylinder                   25        6.4
 Emmetsburg             346          88.9
 Fenton                      3        0.8
 Mallard                     2        0.5
 other                      2         0.5
             Total:     389           100

3. Do you have children under the age of 18 living in your home?

 Option               Count      Percent
 Yes                    135          34.7
 No                     254          65.3
         Total:         389          100

4. What is your age category?

Option         Count   Percent
18 to 25          38        9.8
26 to 35          77       19.8
36 to 50          88       22.6
51 to 64          86       22.1
Over 65          100       25.7
      Total:     389       100

5. What was your annual household income last year before taxes?

Option         Count   Percent
$25,000           65      16.7
$25,001 to
$50,000          117      30.1
$50,001 to
$75,000           92      23.7
$75,001 to
$100,000          39       10
$100,001 to
$150,000          18       4.6
$150,000           3       0.8
Refused           55      14.1
      Total:     389      100

6. Which of the following indoor activities have you or others in your
household participated in at facilities in Palo Alto County in the past 12

Option                      Count          Percent
Indoor recreation
(aerobics, basketball,
bowling, etc.)                199              58

Arts and crafts                94             27.4

Educational classes           123             35.9

Youth birthday party          109             31.8

Wedding reception             206             60.1

Live concert                  151              44
Stage play or dance
performance                   142             41.4

Meetings or social
events                        252             73.5
                  Total:     1276             100

7. Would you say that the current indoor facilities including schools,
churches and all other facilities you use meet ____ of your needs?

Option            Count       Percent
Some                 164            42.2
All                  204            52.4
None                   21            5.4
       Total:        389            100

8. Which of the following outdoor activities have you or others in your
household participated in at facilities in Palo Alto County in the past 12

Option              Count   Percent
Boating               199      58.9
Fishing               194      57.4
Swimming              180      53.3
Picnicking            206      60.9
Camping               108       32
Golf                  133      39.3
Ice Fishing            49      14.5
skiing                 25       7.4
Snowmobiling           49      14.5
Ice Skating            23       6.8
          Total:     1166      100

9. Would you say that the current outdoor facilities including parks and all
other public and private facilities you use meet ____of your needs?

Option             Count    Percent
Some                 139       35.7
All                  232       59.6
None                  18        4.6
       Total:        389       100

10. I have a list of potential features and activities for the Clubhouse
location on Five Islands Lakes. Please tell me if these are very, somewhat
or not important to your or your family.......

                        Very         Somewhat
                      Important      Important     Not Important

space for classes     53   13.62%   137   35.22%    199   51.16%
space for
meetings and
social events        110   28.28%   167   42.93%    112   28.79%
Lounge (serving
alcohol)              82   21.08%   124   31.88%    182   46.79%
Restaurant for
lakeside meals       177   45.50%   142   36.50%     70   17.99%
Pro Shop (for
golfers)              92   23.65%    93   23.91%    204   52.44%
Youth day camps      143   36.76%   105   26.99%    141   36.25%

Birthday party
space                100   25.71%   112   28.79%    176   45.24%

Live concerts         94   24.16%   136   34.96%    159   40.87%
Stage plays and
performances          68   17.48%   121   31.11%    199   51.16%

Children's theatre
or other family
programs             104   26.74%   109   28.02%    176   45.24%

Watercraft rentals    97   24.94%   150   38.56%    142   36.50%
Gas station for
watercraft           138   35.48%    99   25.45%    151   38.82%

store accessible
from lake            102   26.22%   121   31.11%    166   42.67%

Teen center          138   35.48%   109   28.02%    142   36.50%
Senior activity
center               111   28.53%   112   28.79%    166   42.67%
Preschool or
childcare activity
space                 88   22.62%    75   19.28%    225   57.84%

Indoor children's
playground              80   20.57%    94    24.16%   215   55.27%
Bowling                106   27.25%    108   27.76%   175   44.99%
Community firepit       53   13.62%    128   32.90%   207   53.21%
Lodging (hotel
rooms or suites)        44   11.31%    78    20.05%   266   68.38%
Bicycle rental          65   16.71%    121   31.11%   203   52.19%

11. How many people should a facility accommodate for events and

Option              Count    Percent
10 to 50
People                 27        6.9
51 to 100
People                125       32.1

101 to 250
People                178       45.8
Over 250
People                 59       15.2
        Total:        389       100

12. How often have you visited the Emmetsburg Clubhouse in the last

Option              Count    Percent
Several times
a week                 19        4.9
Once per
week                   13        3.3

A few times a
month                  25        6.4
Monthly                25        6.4
Less than
once a month          109        28
Never                 198       50.9
           Total:     389       100

13. How often would you visit a community center in Emmetsburg, if it
contained the features you desired?

Option               Count        Percent

times a
week                    34            8.7
Once per
week                    48           12.3

A few times
per month               87           22.4
Monthly                 98           25.2

Less than
once a
month                   87           22.4
Never                   35             9
        Total:         389           100

14. Do you think any of the following groups are underserved by current
indoor facilities?

Option                 Count      Percent
Children ages
4 to 17                  169           66
Young adults
18 to 34                 116          45.3
Adults 35 to 64              71       27.7
Adults over 65               79       30.9

Groups (like
hobby clubs or
youth sports)                66       25.8
Businesses                   59        23

Civic groups
(like Kiwanis,
Lions or Rotary              70       27.3
            Total:       630          100

15. How important do you think it is for the City to recover the cost of
operating a community center through user fees?

Option                 Count             Percent

Very important             170              43.7
important                  180              46.3

Not important                  39            10
          Total:           389              100

16. As I read from a list of ways to fund the operation of a community
center, please tell me which one would be best for you:

Option                     Count          Percent
pass                            132          33.9
Pay per visit                   182          46.8
Contributions                       22        5.7
Sponsorships                        14        3.6
Planned gifts                        2        0.5

Not willing to pay a
fee (Skip to Q 18)                  37        9.5
                 Total:         389           100

17. How much of an increase in your annual property taxes would you
support to fund the construction of a new community center in

Option             Count             Percent
$ 0 / None             203                 52.2
     $10.00               87               22.4
     $25.00               65               16.7
     $50.00               34                8.7
      Total:           389                 100

18. How much of an increase in your annual property taxes would you
support to fund the operation of a new community center in Emmetsburg?

Option         Count   Percent
$ 0 / None       232      59.6
    $10.00        87      22.4
    $25.00        53      13.6
    $50.00        17       4.4
     Total:      389      100

19. If daily rental fees funded the operations of a community center in
Emmetsburg, how much for a day rate, would you pay to use it, for a
meeting or event you are hosting?

Option         Count   Percent

$200/day         233      66.2
$300/day          38      10.8
$400/day           7        2
$500/day           4       1.1
More than
$500/day           1       0.3
Never plan
to rent           60       17

Don't Know         9       2.6
      Total:     352      100

20. Some people have made the following statements. For each one I read,
please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, have no opinion,
somewhat disagree or strongly disagree.

                       Strongly      Somewhat       Have no       Somewhat       Strongly
                        agree          agree        opinion        disagree      disagree
should have better
facilities for
meetings and
events                 68   17.48%   121   31.11%   82   21.08%   53   13.62%    63   16.2%
The Country Club
building should not
be renovated if our
community can
save money by
replacing it with a
new facility          150   38.56%    96   24.68%   64   16.45%   35     9.00%   44   11.31%
It's okay for
Emmetsburg to
offer boat rental,
food and other
services at the
community center,
as long as those
services are
provided by private
concessionaires       123   31.62%   132   33.93%   90   23.14%   23     5.91%   21   5.40%
Emmetsburg does
a good job
maximizing public
access to Five
Islands Lake          142   36.50%   120   30.85%   39   10.03%   45    11.57%   42   10.8%
needs a
community center
facility to
meetings, family
and community
events, music
programs and
lakeside recreation   103   26.48%   120   30.85%   56   14.40%   45    11.57%   64   16.45%

21. How high a priority is a new community center, compared to other
priorities for our community?

Option          Count   Percent
Very high
priority           25       6.4
Priority           46      11.8
Moderate          151      38.8

Low Priority      105       27
Not a
priority           62      15.9
       Total:     389      100


Report of Focus Group
Compiled November 6, 2009 for Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation

Participants essentially confirmed what was discovered in the leadership interviews and community
survey regarding an Emmetsburg Community Center at the former Country Club clubhouse location on
Five Islands Lakes. Specifically, they agreed unanimously or reached consensus on the following points:

    The current facility occupies a great location, but does not meet the community’s need for a multi-use
    community center and should be replaced with a new building.

    In addition to the top priorities identified in the survey, a pro shop for golfers and a bar were deemed
    important. A teen center was desirable, but there was skepticism of its success given two failed
    attempts to operate one in the community.

    “Food and beverage is the lynchpin” driving intended frequency of visits; recreational activities (i.e.
    ice skating, hockey, snowmobiling, billiards, cards, etc.) would support utilization during winter

    It’s okay for City of Emmetsburg to provide services at the community center via private
    concessionaires. The awarding of a contract for a restaurant generated considerable discussion,
    reinforcing the need for a transparent, public process for awarding contracts.

    Nearly all participants (10 of 12) said that they would be willing to volunteer and donate $500 or
    more to help make this project possible.
One discussion facilitated by Ryan Hanser and Ronald Hanser of Hanser & Associates was conducted
with 12 participants who were representative of leadership in the Emmetsburg community; nine were
residents of City of Emmetsburg. Participants were:
1. Phil Andreasen
2. Mary Cooper
3. Kirk Haack
4. Diane Jamtgaard
5. Rick Jones
6. Robin Kerber
7. Pat Kliegl
8. Rosemary Matthews
9. Jennifer Myers
10. Denise Reimer
11. John F. Spies
12. Troy Zimmerman

Hanser & Associates representative explained that the firm has been retained by ECDC to conduct a
feasibility study regarding an Emmetsburg Community Center. Participants were told that we are sharing
some results of a community survey and asking them to help us to refine our study. We asked that they
provide candid input on Emmetsburg’s facilities, told them that we were recording the session only to
assure accuracy and that their comments will not be attributed – used only in aggregate.

Community Needs
   We asked to think broadly about what this community needs most right now, participants agreed upon
   three high priorities:
   o Growth for Emmetsburg (unanimous)
   o Jobs creation, economic development and improved quality of life
   o Outdoor pool

   When asked how does a community center fit with these needs, participants agreed:
   o A new facility could serve as the gathering point for the community
   o Space for meetings and events would support economic development

   We informed participants that respondents to our phone survey during Oct. ranked a public restaurant
   for lakeside meals and meeting space for social events at the top of list of things they’d like to see on
   the lake, and a gas station for watercraft and a teen center also ranked high on the list. Then we asked
   participants if they agreed with these priorities and, if not, what their highest priorities were.
   o The teen center, while important, was viewed skeptically among the four high-priority facilities
   o A pro shop and bar for golfers should be included
   o An outdoor pool and tennis courts would be a nice-to-have, but consensus was that these features
        are not essential
   o All participants agreed that the current facility occupies a great location, but the facility was
        designed as a clubhouse and does not meet the community’s need for a multi-use community
  Participants are willing to pay the following for these services:
  o $200-300 is a realistic day rate for use of a meeting facility
  o They would pay more at a new facility (they think $250 is the day rate for use of the current
  o The facilities should be open to the public but nothing should be free; charge a fee for everything

  Expected frequency to use each service:
  o At least weekly during the Summer months
  o Weekly-to-monthly during the winter months if there are a range of indoor and outdoor
     recreational activities including ice skating, hockey and snowmobiling, billiards, cards, etc.
  o Unanimously agreed that “Food and beverage is the lynchpin” driving frequency of visits and
     would “visit much more often if food and drinks are available there.”

  Suggested partners for a new community center would include:
  o Iowa Lakes Community College, so students could gain work experience
  o Palo Alto County, so the region could use the facility to help attract new companies and residents
  o The Senior Center, to help fund operations at a new community center and as an accessible
     location to serve meals

  Participants were surprised when informed that “About half of those surveyed (in the phone survey)
  support raising property taxes to finance construction of a community center and many are also
  willing to fund ongoing operation.” Other suggested ways the community could fund construction
  and operation of a new facility:
  o Private gifts and endowments
  o User fees, both monthly and per visit

  Participants agreed that it’s okay for Emmetsburg to offer boat rental, food and other services at the
  community center as long as those services are provided by private concessionaires and added these
  points of agreement:
  o OK for a restaurant that is currently in Emmetsburg to have opportunity to operate under a lease
      at the new facility.
  o Three services (that are traditionally provided only on private property) should especially be
      operated by private concessionaires at the Community Center, rather than by the City of
      1. Food service
      2. Bar/lounge
      3. Gas station for watercraft and boat rental
  o The City of Emmetsburg should run the process and select concessionaires through a process that
      1. Public bid process (RFP) with plenty of specification regarding lease terms, services to be
           provided, hours of operation, etc.
      2. Have a public committee oversee the process for selecting concessionaires
      3. Explore how to work with Iowa Lakes Community College, which has a curriculum in
           recreation management
      4. Contract should be awarded the highest bidder
Participants Role
      Nearly all (10 of 12) participants said that they would be willing to volunteer to help make this
      project possible.
      Nearly all (10 of 12) participants said that they would also be willing to donate $500 or more to help
      make this project possible.

Desired Outcomes
      Shared vision of the land and facilities includes…
      o All participants agree that Emmetsburg needs a new building. “Don’t do it make-shift; do it
      o “The perfect facility, in the current location, with the perfect amenities and funding secured.”
      o “The lake view is #1 consideration; the lake is the asset.”
      o The facility should accommodate small conventions.
      o Outdoor seating is important.
      o It is essential that the pro shop be interactive with the golf course.
      o The revenue from a bar is very important to making the facility cash flow.
      o Include Emmetsburg heritage, maybe an Irish center.
      o Facility should accommodate up to 500 people, combining indoor and outdoor seating.
      o Indoor facility should accommodate up to 300 people seated for a meal; up to 250 for a meeting
         or event.
      o “Golf is very important to this community, and we need a place to gather after golf.”

      Participants said that an ideal outcome for this feasibility study is:
      o A new facility
      o Moving forward now – despite the current difficult economy – to build what we can for the
      o Establish a steering committee to take this forward

In May 2009 ECDC selected West Des Moines-based Hanser & Associates, through a
competitive bidding process, to conduct Emmetsburg’s public input and feasibility study
regarding Emmetsburg’s Clubhouse/Community Center.

Hanser & Associates is a national public relations firm with specialization in serving the
research needs of local, county and state governments.

The firm is uniquely suited to conduct highly credible recreation and tourism-related
surveys, having successfully completed award-winning surveys, focus groups, feasibility
studies and other research projects for government entities including:
    Chariton Valley Resources, Conservation and Development, Centerville, Iowa
    City of Omaha / Omaha By Design, Omaha, Neb.
    City of Urbandale, Iowa
    City of West Des Moines, Iowa
    State of Iowa Treasurer, Des Moines, Iowa
    West Des Moines Community Schools, West Des Moines, Iowa

Hanser & Associates is knowledgeable about government communications and public
input processes, and parks and recreation planning, in addition to public survey work.
Our firm’s research work is distinguished by the fact that the surveys we conduct for
clients lead to successful passage of referenda or other initiatives to meet the needs
identified in the research.

The firm sub-contracted with long-time business partners for their specialized expertise
in completing components of the feasibility study for the Community Center:
    RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines, Iowa
    TPG Companies, West Des Moines, Iowa

Primary Point of Contact:
Ronald Hanser, APR, President and Principal
Hanser & Associates
Headquarters: 4401 Westown Parkway, Ste. 212, West Des Moines, IA 50266
Ph: 800-340-6434
Mobile: 515-229-8181
Fax: 515-224-0991
Visit for more information.

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