In the fall and winter of 2007, a group of more than 100 Stanton Iowa citizens attended a series of public meetings to identify challenges and concerns facing the greater Stanton community. With the recommendation of the Mayor of Stanton a group was formed to look at the needs of the community of Stanton. The challenges, as determined by residents at these meetings and through follow-up feedback, were:
- The Good Shepherd Preschool program – a private, non-profit entity – was housed in the Lutheran church basement. The location did not meet fire codes in 2008 and the preschool was granted permission to stay in the church until the Viking Center could be built.
- The current library was located in a deteriorating downtown building and housed limited reading and/or technological resources. Its functionality no longer served the fast-paced technology of today’s users.
- The community had no indoor facility of its own for which residents and school age children could participate in recreational activities.
- No programs or space was available within Stanton to serve county health/wellness issues. Because of the large number of senior citizens and the driving distance to available health services, many seniors were not participating in wellness activities or health screenings.
- A dual need existed for a community gathering place to hold after-school programs – mentoring programs, 4-H, Kids Club – and for a storm shelter to serve as a ‘hazard-mitigation’ shelter to protect residents during inclement weather. Several tornadoes in the summer of 2008 opened up an awareness for a tornado shelter for the city of Stanton.
The issues cited by residents were confirmed by the City of Stanton’s 2005 Smart Growth Plan and 2008 Community Development & Housing Needs Assessment, conducted by the Southwest Iowa Planning Council of Governments. Studies recommended the development of a community center, wellness center, public library and preschool facility to meet residents’ needs.
View construction photos here.