In collaboration with the City of Cottonwood, Prairie Horizons members are very excited to begin the planning process for the renovation of the Cottonwood Community Hall. The existing facility features a large upstairs hall with beautiful hardwood floors, and an outdated, but large kitchen. The upstairs also includes the City Clerk’s office, handicap accessible restrooms and a large storage space. The lower floor currently houses the Prairie Community Library, council chambers, and the Cottonwood Police Chief’s office. There is also a large multi-use room, a smaller non-functioning kitchen, and ample storage rooms, including the old Cottonwood Jail. “The main hall is used on average three times a month, mostly for funeral services and the occasional wedding, mostly during the summer months,” according to Carol Altman, Cottonwood City Clerk, “A couple of groups rent the basement out on a regular basis for their monthly meetings.”
During Horizons’ community rally last October, community members expressed a desire to have a community center – a place where youth could take classes, learn new skills and build leadership skills; a place to bridge youth and elderly relationships by learning from and teaching one another.
Visions for the Hall include improving the accessibility to the building, particularly to the lower floor; renovating the kitchen, including new commercial appliances; upgrading restroom facilities to meet accessibility codes and standards; and opening up the windows to improve lighting to the facility. Other planned updates include expanding and modernizing the library space to improve lighting and technology capabilities. By doing this, the Horizons group hopes to increase the accessibility of the Community Center to be used by a greater number of people in the quad communities. “We hope to update the community hall with flexible spaces and multi-use rooms to accommodate a greater variety of uses and activities,” said Chinh Ostrander, who is working on the project, “We would like it to be a place that all community groups can utilize, for almost any purpose – from dance or fitness classes, to cooking classes, workshops or trainings, for performances or a theatre space for the community.”
The project will be limited by finances and the City of Cottonwood will be applying for an Idaho Community Development Block Grant to cover the majority of the costs. The city is currently going through the lengthy application process, which includes the “low to median income survey,” completed in the month of December. The application also requires community-wide support, as well as matching financial backing. Prairie Horizons committee members will be seeking letters of support from area businesses and groups in the next few weeks. Please stay tuned on our upcoming fund drive and different ways you can help build your community center.
In partnership with the Northwest Area Foundation and the University of Idaho, Prairie Horizons began in 2006 and included our Quad Communities of Cottonwood, Keuterville, Greencreek and Ferdinand. Accomplishments of the Prairie Horizons program over the last two years include the compilation of a resource directory of local businesses, last summer’s “Movies On The Wall” mini-series, the First Annual Dutch Oven Cook-Off at the Idaho County Fair, and new signs in Cottonwood directing tourists to the Pine Bar recreation area. Participating community members attended leadership classes, trainings on small business entrepreneurship, rural education and grant writing workshops, youth leadership and networking opportunities with other non-profit groups across Idaho.
Prairie Horizons committees continue to pursue other local projects that were identified by community members at the community rally. These projects include the development of an Assisted Living Facility, a community bulletin board, and a youth leadership program. The Steering committee is also working on a Prairie Horizons website and the development of a 501c3 non-profit organization in partnership with Grangeville Horizons. If you, or someone you know, are interested in helping, participating or have questions about any of the above exciting projects, please contact Katie Cooper, 962-2002; Chinh Ostrander, 962-7082 or Shelli Schumacher at 962-5371.