Galesburg residents give feedback, learn more about proposed Churchill Community Center

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 11:27 PM CST
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GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) - The Mayor of Galesburg heard feedback on a new community center planned for the old Churchill Junior High School during a community meeting on Tuesday.

It comes after a controversial sales tax increase was approved by the city council in December to fund part of the project.

Galesburg Mayor Peter Schwartzman started off the meeting with a short presentation that outlined a timeline to this point, potential amenities, and funding for the Churchill site.

In total, the cost to renovate the old school is estimated to be $7.3 million. An estimated $1 million will come from unused American Rescue Plan Act funds, and another million will come from fundraising. The majority, $5.3 million, of funding hinges on a city bond to be voted on by the city council in March.

Mayor Schwartzman said it’s too early for an official timeline of the project, and the location could still change depending on community and council feedback, as well as the city’s ability to secure funding.

“We think based on our initial conversations, which are getting more detailed now with service organizations that we could fill the entire building at Churchill,” Schwartzman said. “Now it’s going to take the additional costs, but then partnerships are going to lead to more investment by community members”

Community members asked questions about funding and provided suggestions about what they’d like to see in a community center.

At Tuesday night’s meeting residents had a large focus on providing a place for teens in the community to gather outside of school.

Galesburg High School senior, James Rice, said he’d like the space to show off his musical side.

“I want something I can do. I want to go there, I want to play a show, a gig, I want to have a concert,” Rice said. “I’m a musician ... that’s my main thing. , I don’t see a lot of places like that, other than bars.”

According to the mayor, more information about a potential timeline and amenities for the community center should be decided on by the next city council.

Galesburg will hold municipal elections for four city council seats on April 4.