The Orange City City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, Sept. 15, to place a $4.5 million bond on a ballot for public approval on Nov. 3.
Just over a year ago, fire destroyed the historic Hawkeye Hotel building in downtown Orange City, which housed a Hallmark store as well as two other businesses. The fire also weakened the adjacent L&K Clothing store building.
If approved, funds from this bond will go toward the construction of a two-story, European-style building with retail space on the ground floor and condominiums on the second floor. Aptly named the “Hawkeye Center,” it will be built on the now-empty lot downtown.
The Phoenix Project, as this rebuilding project was named, also includes the construction of an event center, an education center, a performing arts center and a Dutch village.
Greg Christy, president of Northwestern, is a member of the Phoenix Project Task Force. He believes that NW should support this project because what is good for Orange City is ultimately good for the college.
“As Orange City continues to thrive and prosper, it makes Northwestern more attractive as well,” Christy said. “Our ability to recruit and retain the highest quality faculty and staff, as well as students, is directly tied to the quality of life in Orange City. We deeply value our relationship with the community and want to do whatever we can to help the community continue to progress.”
Christy also pointed out how many alumni are part of the project’s task force. Out of 12 members, eight of them graduated from NW. The task force is made up of Orange City business owners, as well as representatives from the city and Sioux County.
“The focus of the Phoenix Project is progress for the community of Orange City and to make Orange City more of a destination,” said Christy.
Marty Guthmiller, head of the task force, said, “If this bond passes, architectural planning would begin immediately for building the Hawkeye Center and the event center.” Guthmiller and the task force hope the Hawkeye Center and the event center will be ready for use by spring 2011.
Construction of the education center is several years down the road. The center, among other things, will house clinical lab space for NW’s nursing program.
“The building would be shared by other entities, including the local high schools and the health system, for educational purposes,” said Guthmiller.
The bond issue up for public vote next week is to authorize the City Council to issue $4.5 million in bonds. $1.5 million will go toward the new Hawkeye Center, $2.25 million will go toward the proposed event center and the remaining $750,000 will be spent for the right to have the proposed performing arts center at Unity Christian High School available for public use.
Guthmiller encourages eligible voters from the college to vote in support of this project next Tuesday.