Government

Recreation center could be coming to growing Tiffin

Lydie Knottherus, 6, of Amana plays in the water at the splash pad in Tiffin on Friday, July 19, 2019. Tiffin doesn't ha
Lydie Knottherus, 6, of Amana plays in the water at the splash pad in Tiffin on Friday, July 19, 2019. Tiffin doesn’t have a pool, so the splash pad provides locals with a place to cool off during the summer. The city plans to build a recreation center in the near future, and it could include a pool. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

TIFFIN — If you live in Tiffin and are on the lookout for any city-run recreation programs such as football, basketball or soccer, you’re out of luck.

“Currently, there are no recreation programs underneath the umbrella of the city council,” said Doug Boldt, Tiffin City Administrator.

But that could soon change.

In 2019, the Tiffin City Council set aside money in the budget to hire a recreation director in early 2020. In addition to hiring a recreation director, the city is in the middle of planning to build its own recreation facility in the coming years.

“Fiscal year ’21-’22 is our hope for construction and completion of the project,” Boldt said.

If it becomes a reality, the facility would be built on city-owned land west of City Park, 201 Main St.

The process to step up Tiffin’s recreation game began in late 2018 when the city released a community survey to gauge interest for a recreation facility. Boldt said roughly 89 percent of the community responded favorably to the idea, which moved it up the city’s priority list.

Boldt said city leaders used responses from the survey to build a list of amenities citizens would like to see featured in the potential recreation facility. They also toured other recreation centers in the area to get a sense of what Tiffin’s facility might look like.

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Boldt said the rec center would feature a gymnasium with a walking track above it, as well as fitness rooms and areas to do cardio and weight lifting. One thing that’s still up in the air is whether or not the facility will include a pool, which Boldt said is high on the community’s wishlist.

This fall, Tiffin reached out to the Clear Creek Amana and Iowa City Community school districts to see if they had any interest in being part of the pool discussion specifically. The initial meetings were promising, Boldt said.

“There appears like there would be some interest there,” he said. “Potentially, there is some interest there in some sort of partnership if we would an indoor pool as part of this facility.”

Boldt said there’s still “a ways to go” on those discussions, however. The Tiffin City Council is scheduled to meet with the Clear Creek Amana school board on Jan. 7.

The city is also working to put out a Request for Proposals from fundraising consultants that would assist in rolling out a capital campaign this spring for the recreation facility. Boldt said the cost of the recreation center would vary based on whether or not a pool is included. His very rough estimates are $4-5 million without a pool and $7-8 million with a pool.

Boldt said between hiring a recreation director and building a recreation center, the city could start offering programming such as soccer, flag football, volleyball and other youth sports. If a pool is including, programming such as swim lessons could be a possibility.

“This would be a whole new area of recreation for the city that we don’t currently offer,” Boldt said.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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