Nature Center building gets board approvalPublished 10:25am Thursday, October 3, 2013
Jay C. Hormel Nature Center officials are one step closer to building a new Visitor Center.
The Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board unanimously gave permission to Nature Center Executive Director Larry Dolphin and the Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Wednesday to start work on replacing the Visitor Center.
“This has been talked about by our Friends board over the past four years,” Dolphin told the Parks Board.
The current Visitor Center was dedicated in 1975, according to Dolphin. Yet the building is in the Austin Municipal Airport’s current flight path, which means nothing can be built or rebuilt on that building.
“If something were to happen to that building, we would not be able to rebuild it,” Dolphin said.
That’s why Nature Center officials are looking into options for a new center. Once the Austin City Council gives its permission to start discussion, Dolphin hopes to bring city staff, including Public Works Director Steven Lang and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Kim Underwood, out to the nature center to examine the site.
Dolphin said any new building will likely be paid for by a community fundraising campaign and state grants. Dolphin doesn’t plan to ask the city to fund the building.
Dolphin said earlier this week that a new building is perhaps two to three years away, though it’s still early to determine when a new Visitor Center could be completed.
“I think this is something that’s going to go through, and hopefully it’ll go through quickly,” Dolphin said.