Janesville32.3°

Evansville community/senior center completing land deal

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GINA R. HEINE
March 18, 2009
— It's taken two years, but organizers Thursday will close on a land deal for the future Evansville Community/Senior Center.

Friends of the Evansville Community/Senior Center will buy the 2.5-acre lot at the southeast corner of Church and Maple streets from Greg Helgesen, Friends director Janis Ringhand said.


The next step: fundraising.


The group plans to raise $1.5 million to build the center, or phase 1 of the project. Another $1.5 million will be raised for phase 2, which would be an indoor community pool.


"Once we raise enough money to build the building, we'll be moving forward with building," she said. "We already have a contractor."


The Friends group is working with Magill Construction out of Elkhorn and already has plans drawn up. They've changed recently to include a wood working room for the new Woodchucks group, which has nearly 30 members.


A $1 million anonymous donation in 2005 for a senior center sparked the project, and the endowment will pay for the land.


No timeline is set for the project as it all depends on how quickly fundraising goes, Ringhand said. The group is looking at hiring a professional fundraiser to work on the effort, she said.


Organizers will contact potential donors individually as well as plan fundraisers, she said.


Mary Libby, president of the Primetimers senior group, said getting a sign up on the property also is important.


"People can drive by, they know where it is, and they'll say, 'I'd like to support that,'" she said.


A lot of people have shown interest in donating, Ringhand said, but weren't ready to until it became more tangible. The land purchase should be the springboard for those donations, she said.


Both women stressed the city's need for more private and banquet meeting space, which the center will provide.


"It will be used," Libby said. "I'm sure the front door of that place will be swinging."


Senior center has new director

Shelley Schneider started this month as the new coordinator of the Evansville Community/Senior Center, 320 Fair St.


Schneider feels the job is a perfect fit for her.


"I love working with people," she said. "I'm very service oriented. I feel that's our mission in life."


As coordinator, Schneider manages the day-to-day activities of the center. She also promotes center programs, recruits and coordinates volunteers for transportation services, assists in scheduling and handles phone calls and clerical duties.


The center is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Schneider and her family moved to Evansville from Onalaska last summer. Her husband, Glenn, works for Cummins in Stoughton. Two of Schneider's four children are students at Evansville High School. She also has a married daughter and a son who is a junior at UW-Platteville.



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