With the assistance of an architecture design firm, local officials are looking at the feasibility of a new space in the community that could serve as an arts, community and senior center in Hastings.

Members of the Hastings City Council voted 8-0 during their meeting Monday to select Wilkins Architecture Design Planning LLC of Kearney and Olsson to conduct a study that will look at the feasibility of such a space in Hastings.

Don Threewitt, development services director for the city of Hastings, said the feasibility study will test all the different components to see what programs or venues Hastings is lacking for a community its size and what amenities may be possible, such as a performance space, community kitchen and classrooms.

The feasibility study will also look at the availability of grant funding and what is financially sustainable in Hastings — helping the city to move forward for that capital improvement in the future.

The city of Hastings and Adams County each contributed $7,500, with a $15,000 match from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, to fund the feasibility study.

The feasibility study comes less than a year after the former Golden Friendship Center closed at 509 S. Bellevue Ave., and senior center operations were moved to the city’s community center, which is also the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department office, at 2015 W. Third St.

The city received six feasibility study proposals. A five-member selection committee reviewed the applications on July 19.

The selection committee selected Wilkins ADP/Olsson, which had the highest overall score at 95, and second lowest proposal cost at $30,000.

Scoring was based on five criteria: Project understanding, thoroughness and effectiveness of the proposal, qualifications of the firm, experience with doing similar projects previously and the overall scope of services.

Council president Paul Hamelink served on the selection committee.

“Clearly this proposal gets what we’re trying to do,” he said during the council meeting. “I would suggest this is step one in addressing a significant community need with the closure of the Golden Friendship Center and other areas where we can address some needs for space for people to gather and to utilize for events and activities. This is a good step. It’s a necessary first step for a greater grant possibility that we would hopefully apply for this next, coming year. This is step one, hopefully. We can move forward and see something happening with another grant in the coming years to move forward with some facility for our community.”

Threewitt anticipated a final report from Wilkins ADP/Olsson in about six months.

“We will be looking at community outreach throughout the project,” he said.

That community outreach and public input will most likely include a survey component.

Wilkins ADP/Olsson will assess that data and then provide a final report at a public meeting.

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