Organization Of The Year: Elma Community Complex Committee

A few of the members on the committe board, from left to right: Bruce Weigel, Treasurer of The Bridge Inc community betterment organization; City Clerk, Shannon Gebel; Erin Ludwig of The Bridge Inc., and Library Director, Renee Burke.

BY:
PAIGE LUCAS TPD EDITOR
ELMA – The Elma Community Complex Board (ECC) has been chosen as The Times Plain Dealer’s Organization of the Year!
The City of Elma has raised over 1.3 million dollars since 2018 to support the ECC, and surpassed its original goal of 1.2 million. Although there have been hiccups along the way, the residents have been able to persevere.
In 2015, the elementary school in Elma closed down. The property was then turned over to the city. A group of volunteers pulled together to create a plan on how to utilize the property based on community needs.
With the growing Mennonite population, a clinic would be utilized more frequently, and therefore became a need for the town. The non-profit daycare center was cramped and always had a waitlist, and the library needed more space as well. It was important to make the daycare and library fully handicap accesible.
Phase one of the project started with the deconstruction of the two-story school building. After a back-and-forth about preserving the building, it was decided that it may be more costly trying to remodel and maintain, than to just build a new medical building. The new community complex was accomplished by remodeling the old gym, built seperately in the late 1990’s from the school.
Phase two was to build the medical clinic. The Regional Health Service of Howard County reached out to the City of Elma regarding an interest in having a clinic in town. Working together, it was agreed to proceed with planning. Although the clinic was supposed to be attached to the new library space and daycare, the complex committee learned the former school was in the flood zone, although the school had previously never flooded. This forced the clinic to find another property to be built on, which ended up being on the other side of town on Busti Ave.
Phases three and five consisted of renovating the old school gym into a library, multi-purpose room, and City Clerk’s office.
Phase four contained the daycare addition which was completed in 2022. Having this addition helped provide a larger space to increase capacity and eliminate waitlists for the non-profit daycare.
Phase six focused on the outdoors, and figuring out parking and landscaping. Here, the organization also updated the exterior of the building, put up new signage, and will be working on installing a new playground.
The final phase, seven, will focus on remodeling the old bathrooms.


Posted: June 11, 2024 in