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Environmental Education Center Bids Opened

The Winnebago County Conservation Board, along with county officials, and residents learned on Tuesday, how much it will cost to construct the Environmental Education Center. The construction site is on Highway 69 and is centrally located between all three community school districts.

The conservation board called for bid letting and publicly open the bids in the NSB Community Room in the NSB Bank basement at 1pm on Tuesday. Once the bids are confirmed and retabulated, the board will hold another public meeting on June 20th at the Conservation Office to confirm the bids and choose the contractor. Both meetings will be open to the public.

The board has been fund raising and receiving funding from the county through the American Rescue Plan COVID Relief funding from the federal government. The county committed $500,000 in COVID relief monies toward the construction of the center.

If funding comes up short in covering the cost of construction of the center, Conservation Board Director Robert Schwartz went to Winnebago County Attorney Kelsey Beenken with an idea.

Schwartz asked the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors to enter into an internal loan which would cover remaining funding costs of construction.

The Conservation Board would get the funding from the county and use it to pay off additional costs.

The board listened to the proposal put forward by Schwartz and Supervisor Terry Durby agreed that there were additional sources outside of the county that were available.

Schwartz cited an example that was successful in another Iowa county which led to the completion of the project.

The board now waits to see what the bid amounts will be and if extra internal funding is necessary. The original intention was to construct the facility without the use of taxpayer dollars.





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