Karen Ihrig said people from around the world visit Nauvoo. During those visits, they have to go to different places around town to find municipal offices, the police department, the welcome center, and the library. Ihrig is part of a group hoping to change that with construction of the Nauvoo Community Center.
“We feel that having all of these things in one area creates that city center feeling of: This is where you go to in Nauvoo,” she said, adding the center would also house a food pantry, a catering kitchen, and a 4,000 square foot events center.
“People could either rent out the whole thing (the events center) or it can be divided into three separate rooms.”
She said the events center could host meetings by various local groups and could also be used for gatherings held by those who come to visit Historic Nauvoo.
Ihrig, who is a member of the Nauvoo Community Center Capital Campaign Committee, said the goal is to raise $4 million for the project. To help achieve that goal, the committee will host an auction on Saturday, October 12, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the former elementary school gym.
A “Sneak-a-Peek” event will be held Friday, October 11, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. for those who want an advance look at the auction items. Admission for the Friday evening event is $5.
Ihrig said the auction will feature more than 100 items, including antiques & vintage items, art, handcrafted items, classes, clothing, event tickets, entertainment/dining, a hot air balloon ride, lodging & rentals, memorabilia, outdoor services, and more.
“We were initially a committee to find a location for a new library. And that grew as we decided Nauvoo probably has one major project in it. And we thought ‘Let’s go for the whole enchilada’ and we thought we could do a city center,” Ihrig said.
She said the committee asked the city council for two years to come up with the money. That was in June, 2018. She said the committee has spent time since then organizing and raising money. She said they have “in the neighborhood” of $1 million so far.
“We have a long way to go yet but we are hopeful. We are going to do our best to see that it’s done,” Ihrig said.
“We are seeing what we can do for the community without raising taxes.”