City of Casey holds groundbreaking ceremony for new City Hall/Community Center
When a fire destroyed the Casey City Hall and Community Center four years ago, the people of Casey lost a place to gather, hold events and celebrate their community. Now, the town is ready to rise from the ashes and celebrate a new beginning: the construction of the new City Hall and Community Center.
On March 5, city council members and Casey residents gathered in the Casey Public Library for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the construction.
“We lost a lot more than just a community building in August 2014. We lost a place where the community could come together for special family functions, theater productions and many community events,” said Mayor Barry Chalfant. “With the new building, we can now resume these things in a much more spacious, user-friendly building.”
The mayor also introduced the city’s new logo, which features an orange and blue design of a train depot above the town’s name. The design also features the year 1869, when Casey became an incorporated town, and the year 2019, when the town will celebrate its 150th birthday.
Employees of SVPA Architects, the architect for the project, and Rochon Corporation, the contractor, were in attendance at the ceremony to share their thoughts on the design and construction process.
Architect Josh Ridgely with SVPA Architects explained that the interior of the building will be approximately 5,000 square feet and will feature two offices for the city clerk and the public works director. A majority of the space, around 2,700 square feet, will be used for the community room, which is designed for flexible arrangements and a wide variety of events.
Given the history of Casey and its ties to the railroad, the council requested that the exterior of the building have a train depot aesthetic. Ridgely explained that this request was kept in mind when designing the exterior of the building.
Rochon Corporation project manager Eric Ales told community members that they plan on mobilizing at the end of March to begin the construction process, which is expected to be completed in December 2018.
“We’re really excited for this project, and we know you guys are too,” said Ales.
The group then grabbed their ceremonial shovels and stepped outside to make the first dig on the construction site. In attendance were city council members Bret Wedemeyer, Nick Lindberg, Travis Peterson, Stacy Wagner and Rick Richter along with Mayor Chalfant, former Councilman Robb Sneller and City Clerk Michelle King. Ridgely and Ales, along with Rochon Corporation Project Superintendent Mike Hayes, also participated in the groundbreaking.
“We’ve had a lot of support,” said Chalfant. “It’s not just residents. The surrounding community has been a big help.”
Moving forward with the project, the council is most excited for the community center.
“I’m excited for a place for the community to gather again,” said Councilman Wedemeyer. “In the old building, we had . . . community dinners for the elderly and local residents every month, and we’ve really missed doing that since it’s been gone.”
Councilman Wedemeyer explained that the biggest challenge associated with the project was the cost.
“With the proceeds coming mostly from insurance, we really had to do some digging to figure out how to make it work, but we came up with a pretty good solution,” he said. “It should be pretty painless financially for the whole city.”
The mayor and council would like to thank City Clerk Michelle King, SVPA Architects, the Casey Historical Society and the Casey Service Club for their contributions and planning efforts during the design process.
“It’s been a long ordeal,” said Wedemeyer. “It’s a relief that it’s going to be done finally.”