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Devils Lake Family Fun Center to Offer New Indoor Entertainment Options Through Next Winter – Grand Forks Herald

Devils Lake Family Fun Center to Offer New Indoor Entertainment Options Through Next Winter – Grand Forks Herald

Devil’s Lake — Words to describe Devil’s Lake and the surrounding town include “cold,” “boring” and “nothing” — at least according to some residents aged 13 to 18 who were surveyed in the 2022 Ramsey County Youth Survey.

A survey of 166 youth in the county in early 2022 paints a picture of an area that lacks places for young people to congregate.

Devils Lake Parks District superintendent Josh Janzen said the need for more to be done in the Lake District had long been an issue, especially for young people. The bowling alley at Devils Lake closed in 2016, and the movie theater closed early in the COVID-19 pandemic and never reopened.

“There’s just a lack of things to do, and you hear that phrase a lot — our kids have nothing to do in the winter,” Janzen said.

But by next winter, Devils Lake residents of all ages can have a new place to exercise, play and hangout. The Devils Lake Parks District is planning a family entertainment center to be paid for by a quarter-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in June 2022.

The proposed family entertainment center is estimated to cost $3.6 million. Plans for the facility include a walking trail, community room, two pickleball courts, multisport simulators, an indoor playground, six-lane bowling alley, senior lounge and concession areas. The Park District also plans to relocate its offices to the building. The facility’s amenities were decided after a community forum was held in the park district to understand people’s needs for recreational buildings.

The facility will be located in a building at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 20 that was formerly a Leevers Foods grocery store. The Parks District plans to lease the building from the Leevers family, which still owns the building. Janzen could not disclose the cost or lease terms to the park district because it has not yet been finalized.

“We hear a lot about not owning the buildings we’re going into because we’re leasing, but we’ve got very fair lease terms from the owners of those buildings and they’ve been very supportive of what other projects we’ve done before But, so it fits,” Janzen said.

In addition to being more affordable than building new buildings, putting the facility in an existing building will help the park district stick to its intended project timeline, he said.

The family entertainment center isn’t the first time Devils Lake has floated the idea of ​​an entertainment center, but it’s the first time voters have approved tax payments to pay for it. In 2014, voters rejected a proposal to create a half-cent

Sales tax increase that could have been funded

A new wellness center and conference center. In 2018, they voted against a

half-cent sales tax increase

A $19.5 million entertainment complex.

The sales tax voters approved in June is expected to generate $400,000 per year indefinitely for infrastructure development and improvements in the park area. It will initially be used to pay for home entertainment center renovations, equipment and leases.

When the FEC is operational, the Park District will charge those who want to use the facility through a daily user fee or membership fee.

“We want the building itself to generate enough value and enough revenue to cover operating costs so we can reallocate sales tax funds to other infrastructure improvements that we need,” Janzen said.

Alcatraz Lake and Ramsey County also contributed to the recreation center. At the Nov. 15 meeting, the Ramsey County Commissioner committed $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to the facility.

The city plans to provide $500,000 for the project. On November 21, the Devil’s Lake City Council committed $250,000 to the project from its Quality of Life Initiative Fund for distribution before construction begins. The donation will serve as a 10-year upfront sponsorship of the facility’s planned walking trails. On Feb. 6, the commission approved an additional $250,000 from the city’s Growth Fund as an ongoing sponsorship of a community room at the facility, paid out annually at $25,000.

The Devils Lake Parks District is working with JLG Architects on the design phase of the project. Construction is expected to begin in mid-April, Janzen said.

Ingrid Harbo joins the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers news from the Grand Forks area and also writes about business in and around Grand Forks.

Readers can contact Harbo at 701-780-1124 or by email at iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.

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