Vision: A place to gather in Vale

By Pat Caldwell

The Enterprise

VALE – They don’t know where it will be or how much it will cost but supporters of a new community center in Vale have scheduled an open meeting to gather input on the proposal.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Vale City Hall.

Vale residents Dwight Keller, a local farmer; Dennis Buttice, a local lumber broker; Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe, and Sara Rodriguez, owner of Luzetta’s Flowers, are spearheading the effort.

“It is something that for a long time has been needed in our community,” Keller said.

Wolfe agreed. He said a lack of a general meeting place where events can be hosted forces events to go out of town.

“For instance, wedding receptions, funerals, big dinner and fundraisers, those types of things. I think it is healthy to have a place for your community to gather,” he said.

The concept is in its infancy, Wolfe said.

“We are just in the beginning stages of planning. There are all kinds of questions that have to be answered and asked about it,” he said.

Building such a facility is just the start, he said.

“When you build something like that, it has to be sustainable as well. Buildings must be maintained. They have to be used,” he said.

Wolfe said there are several funding possibilities – including local donations.

“Hopefully we can find grants for communities and community development,” he said.

Overall cost of such a project is also a big question mark he said.

“We haven’t even talked to a planner or an architect,” he said.

The March 21 session is important, Wolfe said, because views from residents is crucial before moving forward.

“Everyone is invited to attend,” he said.

So far there is no specific location where the supporters want to build a community center. Wolfe said he believes a community center-like building would be popular.

“I believe it would be used on a regular basis,” he said. “I’d just like to see events stay in Vale.”