The Kalona Community Center renovation was nearly a decade in the making.

A comprehensive plan in 2010 identified the need to update the community building, and a community group determined needs for the building in 2014.

When the renovated Community Center opened last summer, the end result surpassed nearly everybody’s expectations. The $5.4 million renovated facility now houses a 10,000-square-foot gym, a dedicated exercise room, two cardio weight rooms, a dedicated spin room an indoor walking track, racquetball courts and locker rooms.

“This was a community-led project,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “It was something we spent a lot of time vetting, making sure we could support financially and making sure we could provide an asset to the community.”

The city was honored with a community service award from the Washington Economic Development Group at its annual dinner on March 4.

As Schlabaugh said, the award was an honor for residents of the city who helped in planning and supporting the Community Center.

“This didn’t come from just a council made up of five, the mayor, myself and staff,” Schlabaugh said.

Also honored: KCTC for its $3.5 million expansion into the city of Washington, laying fiber cable throughout the city.

The Kalona-based company undertook the expansion after pleas from Washington leaders who felt economic development in the city was stymied due to a lack of bandwidth for businesses and residents.

“They are truly helping support economic development activities in our region by supplying fiber and cable technology to be able to attract new residents and businesses to our communities,” said Nicole Slaubaugh, who serves on the economic development board of directors.

KCTC has rolled out gigabit connectivity throughout Kalona. The project gives Kalona and Washington more bandwidth than many larger cities in the region. 

Congratulations to the city of Kalona and to KCTC for their honors. The honors are well deserved.

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