| Contributing writer
The Boone community has stepped up to donate funds to cover the cost of the Boone Pioneer Center repairing its roof. While COVID-19 is still limiting the center’s services and hours, its board is optimistic about the future.
“We appreciate the people that reached out with donations. It does make a difference for us,” board member Cynthia DiMarco said.
The Boone City Human Service Committee awarded the center $5,000 back in May.
“The center provides a great venue option for our retired/older residents, but also for smaller events like family reunions or high school graduation parties, etc.,” said City Councilmember Greg Piklapp. “Of course, COVID has impacted them greatly, but it is heartening to see their hardworking board and volunteers improving the facility for the future.”
Grant money was received from the Leonard A. Good Trust, based in Ogden. The Modern Woodmen agreed to match funds on memberships and donations up to $1,500, which can be used for daily expenses. (Grant money cannot be used for daily expenses). DiMarco said the Boone High School Class of 1961, which frequently rents the center, has also contributed financially.
The cost of repairing the roof was estimated at $20,000. Board President Steve Huffman said approximately $19,000 was secured through grants and donations, with the board dipping into its checking account to make up the difference for the repairs to the roof. The structure was in need of waterproofing and reinforcing the acrylic roof system.
Right now, the center is open Monday nights at 6 p.m. and Thursdays at 1 p.m. Most people who use the center during these times play cards, shoot pool, knit, crochet and/or socialize. Masks are required and social distancing is enforced. Dances, musical jam sessions and potlucks have been canceled until further notice. The center also sells crafts.
“When people stay in their own groups, it makes it safer,” DiMarco said.
The center generates the bulk of its income from renting the space to service clubs, social groups and private parties. Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations have already been booked.
Previously: Boone Pioneer Center services ‘up in the air’
“We would like to have the center used and rented more,” Huffman said. “It’s an underused asset for the community. It is such a nice building and easy access with parking, and no steps to get in. It’s a good place for people to get together to have some fellowship and fun together.”
While the building has a full-service kitchen, the board is not allowing people to cook at this time. You may bring your own pre-made food.
“We’re trying to hang on and minimize expenses,” he said.
The center is thoroughly cleaned each day it’s used. DiMarco encourages people to wear masks that contain filters.
Membership to the center costs $20 a year.
“There have been a lot of people who sent the money for membership who also sent in extra donations — more than usual,” Huffman said of the community’s generosity.
Anyone interested in donating can mail a check to: Boone Pioneer Center, 1112 Story St., Boone, Iowa.
She said many seniors are not comfortable meeting indoors until there is a vaccine for the virus.
“Nobody knows really what’s going to happen with this pandemic,” DiMarco said. “We’re anxious to get back to a somewhat more normal life, and I know that normal will never be the pre-COVID normal. We will keep on doing the best we can, and that’s all we can do.”
The board meets at 3 p.m. the second Monday of every month.
The building is available to rent by calling DiMarco at 515-298-1004. The center may be reached at 515-432-3792. Please leave a message. Visit the center on Facebook.