City announces $1.35M Vets Memorial Coliseum renovation fundraising

The city of Marshalltown announced a $1.35 million Veterans Memorial Coliseum fundraising campaign on Thursday morning.

The announcement comes the day before the 90th anniversary of the building’s dedication in downtown Marshalltown on March 15, 1929. With a total project cost of $3.6 million, the amount announced for fundraising will be private donations to supplement insurance money, grants and other funds.

The coliseum, used by hundreds of residents each year largely for recreation, was severely damaged in the July 2018 tornado with much of its roof landing on nearby city hall. Sprinkler heads erupted in the storm and water poured in for hours until it could be shut off. Hopes to renovate the building were being discussed long before the tornado, however.

“When the tornado occurred, the plans and specifications were not complete,” City Administrator Jessica Kinser wrote in a memo to the council last month. “The city’s insurance company quickly stepped in to complete the emergency work of replacing the roof and removing all proteins of the interior damaged in the tornado and rain following. While the formal plans and specs are not complete, we have received a revised estimate for the desired renovation.”

At a council meeting last month, councilors gave unanimous support to renovate the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The tornado also severely damaged the Senior Citizen Building, owned by the city and leased to a couple of agencies for seniors. Council voted to accept insurance proceeds to demolish the building, but said they would make sure a space in the renovated coliseum was available to seniors.

Part of the renovations will include Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, making the entire space accessible.

The building serves as a community center, hosting events like the Oktemberfest spaghetti supper, and also serves to honor veterans.

A fundraising committee will be co-chaired by Vic Hellberg and Steve Storjohann, both graduates of the Class of 1964 and Vietnam War veterans. Committee members include Kelli Thurston and Deb Mettlin, with City Council members Al Hoop and Mike Gowdy serving as liaisons to the group.

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Contact Emily Barske at 641-753-6611 or ebarske@timesrepublican.com