Parks board approves nature center project
Published 10:35 am Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s plans for a new interpretive center are ready to start.
The Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry board approved moving forward with the project during a meeting Wednesday.
“We’re going in the right direction,” Larry Dolphin, the nature center’s executive director, told the board.
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The Hormel Foundation approved a $5 million grant toward the project last month, which should cover the bulk of the $7 million project. The project was announced last year in part to add more room to the facility and in part because the current interpretive center is in the flight path for the Austin Municipal Airport.
The interpretive center will be 15,000 square feet — about three times the size of the current building — and it will be built northeast of the current maintenance building.
Nature center officials have about $5.8 million secured thus far — the city is expected to kick in $500,000 in capital improvement funds in 2016, along with $200,000 from the Friends of the nature center and $100,000 in donations.
Dolphin said the nature center hopes to raise about $300,000 in donations to help pay for exhibits and displays inside the new building.
Nature center officials will start working with architects to begin the project, which will be put out to bid late next year, with construction beginning in spring of 2016. The project is scheduled to be done in time for a dedication on Oct. 1, 2017.