Mayor helps Armory by having a 'ball'


On Saturday night, the movers and shakers of Cottage Grove packed the Armory for the third annual Mayor’s Ball and while the event aims to raise funds for long-held dream of remodeling the exterior of the building, it was the interior that drew comparisons to a wonderland. 

“It was absolutely wonderful,” said city councilor Kenneth Roberts. “The ambience in that room was absolutely beautiful. As someone who sets up lights professionally, it was amazing.”

Lighted clouds hung from the ceiling and attendees walked a carpet flanked on either side by white lights before taking their seats for an evening that revolved around sustainability. 

The Armory’s current existence has been touted as an example of recycling after the city purchased the building in 2009, restoring windows, floors and treating the building for lead paint and dust. It’s been the site of several community functions including fundraisers, banquets and for the last three years, the Mayor’s Ball. 

Jeff Gowing has presided over the ball for the last three years and this year was no different. He spoke about the ball Monday night saying, “It was a lot of fun, I had a lot of fun. Though, my wife probably had more fun because she spent a lot of money. I had fun, the food was great, I went back and thanked the caterers.” 

The Paktech-sponsored event was the latest in an effort to raise funds for the remainder of the remodeling still needed for the building. According to the city manager’s office, the dancing, desert dashes, silent auctions featuring trips across the country and the live band managed to bring in $89,000 on Saturday night. 

“It was nearly $90,000,” said city manager Richard Meyers, "and that’s a rough number, there still might be some additions and subtractions as we go through and make sure people weren’t counted twice. And that’s gross, that’s before we go through and pay for the meals and the money goes back into the Armory trust fund to pay for the building’s remodel.”

The Armory has already undergone several phases of its reconstruction including brand new windows after the city discovered failing panes on the original windows and lead paint around the edges. The windows were not the only place lead was discovered. Last year, after several media reports indicating that the city was not properly cleaning the building's lead, the city manager's office released new lead testing that showed all of the building's lead levels had decreased from initial test readings conducted when the city first purchased the building. The only area the lead levels had increased was in the drill hall--the area most used for community events--in a corner of the room by the stairs and outside entrance. At the time, Meyers attributed the elevated level to the fact that the building's exterior stairs were painted with lead paint and the contaminate was being tracked in on visitor's shoes. 

The remodel of the Armory will include a new fascade on the exterior, handicap accessible entrances, a remodel of the facility's restrooms and other modern additions. To view the plans for the remodel, visit the city's website at cottagegrove.org.


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