Long-time Holmen youth supporter Lloyd Dresen and his wife Alice are the Holmen Area Community Center’s first members.
The memberships were awarded during a private tour of the facility June 26. The June 26 tour and membership card presentation was held on the one-year anniversary of the donation of the former grocery store to the community center project.
Dresen was honored in 2019 as the Holmen Area Foundation’s servant leader in recognition of his 36 years of service to the Holmen area. In addition to the community center and various other recreational, academic and charitable projects, Dresen worked to raise funds for Viking Field and the bike/pedestrian trail.
He has been less active recently because of ongoing health concerns, but said he is gratified to be able to see the results of the long struggle to build a community center in Holmen
“It’s truly a dream come true,” Dresen said. “Everyone has to remember it’s not just one person (making the center a reality). I hope the kids and families appreciate what you’ve done. It has a little of something for everybody.”
Dresen agreed he would try to attend the grand opening tentatively planned at the end of August.
The dream of building a community center began about 10 years ago, when a youth after-school program outgrew space provided by the Holmen Lutheran Church.
The HACC group had hoped to build a facility on land north of McHugh Road that was purchased by the town of Holland. However, the effort for that project didn’t result in the needed resources.
“I’ve been told, ‘it was all meant to happen as it did,’” said Laurie Kessler, a board member of the Holmen Area Community Center. “All the things lined up. When we started, Holmen was growing.”
The dream began to take form after Dave and Barb Skogen decided to donate the vacated grocery store on Holmen Drive to the Boys & Girls Club to serve as the community center.
“We were going to sell the building,” Skogen said, “but when that didn’t happen, I said to Barb, ‘We may have to give this away.’”
The Skogens not only donated the building, they contributed $5 million toward its renovation. The user groups of HACC, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and the School District of Holmen were charged with raising the remaining $3.5 million needed for the project.
The Boys & Girls Club organization will own the building with the other groups contributing to its operation. They will also be responsible for the programming for their part of the center.
In addition to the Boys & Girls Club, the center will offer space for community recreation and other activities, senior meals and a classroom for the school district’s alternative education program.
Along with meeting rooms, the facility includes two new gymnasiums expanding the building’s original 30,000 square feet to 46,000 square feet.
“This is the largest of all the clubs,” said Mike Desmond, retired executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse.
The community center is on track to open this fall and memberships will be available to the public after Aug. 1. Memberships are open to residents throughout the area.
More information about the center can be found at holmencc.org.
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