NORA SPRINGS — For more than 25 years, the Nora Springs Catholic Community Center has been home to Catholic education classes and social gatherings.
Now the future is uncertain for the community center which has served far more than the Catholic community through the years.
“It’s the prom. It’s the Scouts. It’s everybody that uses this building that will be without if we lose it,” said Anne Moorehead, president of the board.
The facility is not being rented enough to pay monthly expenses, said Randy Hassman, treasurer. And if it remains open there are large costs looming for replacing the roof, an air conditioner and aging furnaces.
“We used to be fairly booked up on the weekends and that certainly isn’t the case now. We’re lucky if we have one a month,” he said. “The board knows that if things continue the way they are that we cannot pay our bills.”
Community center board members and members of the Catholic community met recently and decided to make an appeal for monthly pledges to keep the center open, Hassman said.
Since mailing a letter seeking pledges, Moorehead said she’s been receiving responses.
Another meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the center to decide whether to try to keep the building open, she said.
Through the years, graduation celebrations, wedding receptions, birthdays, anniversaries and large funeral lunches have all been held at the center, said Kathy Muff, a longtime community member.
“We’ve had some sales. People rent the building for auctions and that sort of stuff, antique sales, but we just haven’t had any of that lately and that’s where we’re in trouble,” said Pat Mathre, who has long served as religious education director.
Although Nora Springs has never had a Catholic Church, its Catholic community has had a strong identity. Over the years, religious education classes were held at the American Legion, the school and the Methodist Church.
Ground was broken for the center with the large room for dinners, receptions and social events upstairs in about 1980, Muff said. Men in the community did most of the building.
For years, community members operated a food stand and Bingo booth at the North Iowa Fair to raise money to pay off the building, Muff said. They also started having the annual turkey dinners.
“The whole lower level of our building is classrooms,” she said.
About 45 children from pre-school through high school take part in religious education classes at the center from 6:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday nights, Mathre said.
But the Catholics who rely on the center attend church and tithe elsewhere.
Until a couple of years ago, the center received steady income from the preschool and an exercise program that leased space there, Muff said.
Reach Julie Birkedal at 421-0535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.