Voyageur Park facility project gets green light
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – The De Pere Common Council approved the design for a multi-use facility at Voyageur Park and voted to go forward with the $1.2 million construction project at its April 7 meeting.
Council members also gave Mayor James Boyd the authority to create an ad hoc fundraising committee to raise a portion of the cost.
The city has been talking about replacing the restroom building at Voyageur Park since at least 2014.
The Voyageur Park multi-use facility would have an open-air seating area with river views and could be reserved for private gatherings.
In addition to three restrooms totaling 600 square feet, the building would include a 700-square-foot community room with three overhead doors that could be opened up on sunny days.
But much to the disappointment of the parks board, the cost of materials rose between the initial design stage and the planning phase, boosting the price tag to $1.2 million.
So the board asked the architect for a scaled-back design more in line with the budget.
Then an anonymous donor came forward and offered to fund up to $500,000 for the project with two stipulations: the city pursue the original design it wanted rather than the scaled-down plan, and the project be completed within a few years.
The project can use $170,000 that was initially reserved to replace the restrooms, and the city would put $330,000 toward the project, adding up to $500,000.
That leaves $700,000 for the ad hoc committee to raise.
If the donation comes through, the amount the committee would need to raise would be considerably less.
The board also committed to begin work on the project by 2023.
Businesses pitch in for veterans memorial
The council also voted to accept donations from three local entities toward the future veterans memorial to be installed at VFW Park.
Ryan Funeral Home, ISC Insurance and VFW Post 2113 gave about $3,900 apiece toward the granite-and-bronze monument, which is estimated to cost $15,600 through Mathewson Monuments of New London.
Another $3,900 in funding from the aquatic facility referendum passed in 2019 will be earmarked for the memorial as well.
The memorial replaces the old veterans memorial, which was torn down along with the old VFW pool facility to make way for the new aquatic facility at the same site.
Alderman Jonathan Hansen asked for reassurance the veterans groups don’t object to having commercial sponsorships associated with their monument.
Director of Parks Recreation, and Forestry Marty Kosobucki said the VFW not only approved Ryan Funeral Home and ISC, but approached the city with the suggestion of sponsors.
Nelson sought to clarify for the public why pool referendum money is being spent on the memorial.
“It’s not necessarily a new memorial, but a replacement for the old one, which was taken down for pool construction,” he said. “So I think it’s a natural reason to take that money from the pool fund.”