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Local Groups Make Bid for State Bonding Funds

Created: 12/04/2013 7:00 PM KSTP.com
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- There are dozens of area projects that are hoping to make the cut for this session’s bonding bill. Wednesday the Senate Capital Investment Committee took time to check out several of them.

  The Chatfield Center for the Arts is hoping this is their bonding year.

"Our intention is to rehabilitate these buildings," said city clerk Joel Young.

The art center hosted the senate bonding committee Wednesday with the hopes to convince them to add the funding needed to restore this nearly hundred year old building and theatre to this year’s bonding bill.

"One of the reasons we're doing this project is we believe that every community has a responsibility to look out for its own assets so that everyone can enjoy them, and these buildings are such things," said Young.

But the art center is far from the only project that's hoping to receive bonding money this session. The senate committee got a chance to learn a little more about many proposals during their southeast Minnesota tour.

"These tours are really important because it's the senate's due diligence, we need to look at these projects, we have an opportunity to ask questions and look at the impact they have on the state," said Rochester Senator Carla Nelson.

The next stop on their tour was RCTC, which is looking for funding for some much needed repairs.

"We've had cases where ceiling tiles have fallen from the ceiling during class," said RCTC Interim President Gail O’Kane.

RCTC is also looking to reorganize or rebuild two of their buildings.

"We are looking  at how we can make that space more efficient, we've got 34,000 square feet, some of the rooms are too big and some of the rooms are too small," said O’Kane.

At RCTC the senators also listened to presentations for several other projects including the Douglas Trail project, the proposal for a high speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities, and proposed a veterans and emergency services museum.

All of them, like the Chatfield Art Center, hoping their project will get a piece of that bonding money.

"We need culture in our everyday lives and for a community to be livable we have to have all these different things available," said Young.

Thursday the group will wrap up the tour with a visit to Mayo Clinic and stops in both Albert Lea and Owatonna.