Tim Dalton runs Furniture and Things Community Events Center | Elk River Star News

Dalton’s journey to running a community events center started with lifeguard work and ended with recreation coordinator jobs

Tim Dalton worked as a lifeguard during the summer to help him get to college, where he studied political science and public administration.

That summer job, combined with his education and personal interests, created the kind of synergy and trajectory the man from Elk River needed to become the first Superintendent of the Furniture and Things Community Event Center.

He now runs the facility with the support of City Administrator Cal Portner and Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Hecker. It also has an advisory board that oversees an annual budget of $ 1.3 million.

Elk River City Council has established a Mixed-Use Advisory Commission to receive community input regarding the use and development of the city’s new recreational facility, the Furniture and Things Community Event Center.

Commission members learned that community setup requires a team and community approach.

“The Furniture and Things Community Events Center has become a beacon for our city, responding to a myriad of needs for our region,” said Hecker. “The first year presented challenges with the pandemic, but we saw many recreational opportunities that have improved the quality of life for so many. “

Dalton totally agrees.

The former Scout, who became a good swimmer at Scout Camp and played hockey growing up, chose the position of swim instructor because, as summer jobs disappeared, he was rather well paid.

He went from swimming instructor to coordinator for Buffalo Community Education. BCE provided community recreation services to the City of Buffalo, and Dalton returned to that job when the person who previously held that position was laid off.

His boss called him into his office one day and asked if he could do the job. He could and did it for the next seven years. The cities of Montrose, Hanover and Corcoran also contracted with BCE.

Dalton took him like a fish in water.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with children,” he says. “It attracted me. In addition, I enjoyed serving my community. “

The key, however, has always been variety.

“I can do a lot of different things,” he said. “If I had to sit there and do the same thing every day, I wouldn’t be around for very long. I like the variety.

The job at Buffalo evolved throughout his time there, and he even worked with the arena director as an assistant to the arena director.

From there he went to Glencoe for four years as director of community education and recreation, then moved to the town of Shoreview where he served as director of the recreation program for about two and a half years.

Then he did another seven year stay at Crookston with their community education program doing more recreation coordination.

Then he got the idea that it would be fun to have a summer vacation, and he went to Anoka-Hennepin Community Education. There, each college had a community education office that served as the activity director for the school year.

“They closed the college, however,” said Dalton. “I was the last one hired and the first one let go. “

For the first time, Dalton was unsure of what to do. He ended up doing consulting work for the University of Minnesota where he also organized sports camps, and he also began counseling with the Red Cross on a training program for volunteers. He even accepted a sales position at Dave’s Sports Shop in Maple Grove.

The stars had to align, as that was when he was hired by Elk River Parks and Recreation, where he coordinated sports programming for youth and adults starting in 2013.

That’s what he was doing when we talked about a community center in Orono Park. He worked on the referendum and found it to be an interesting experience.

He remembered a very busy open house and saw it as a good sign for the prospect of the installation. But after that didn’t happen, he concluded that the people he saw that night never made the connection that there was another step to getting him approved.

“I think they wanted it but didn’t understand that there was another step,” said Dalton, noting that people who wanted it had to come out and vote for it. “This is where I think the Youth Sports Commission made a huge difference in getting people to understand what to do.”

Dalton says the future of the community event center is bright.

“Right now, I want to make people understand that it is for the whole community, and not just for the rink. “

The advisory commission was tasked with identifying and establishing the mission, goals, values ​​and ultimate vision of this community asset and using them to make recommendations on operational policies and the budget.

The multi-purpose facility advisory commission is made up of nine members appointed by the city council with representatives from different youth associations that will use the facility for both ice and grass activities (this may include youth football from Elk River, Flag Football, Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse, Youth Hockey, and / or Figure Skating Associations, a serving board member and a representative from ISD # 728.)

Dalton expects unique opportunities to arise, including opportunities for larger trade shows, greater exposure, greater entertainment attractions.

The Seniors Activity Center has already started hosting concerts for its members, the next one being Sherwin Linton. The center for the elderly is not relegated solely to the spaces of the center for the elderly. The concerts took place in the upper banquet space. Eventually, they’ll be taken care of, according to Natalie Anderson, the activity centre’s senior coordinator.

Next week, members of the Seniors Activity Center will have access to the 30,000 square foot turf field located in the former Olympic rink. They can play pétanque, throw a soccer ball and do other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“This senior citizen activity center is going to be a gem,” said Dalton.

Things like the pool tournament, wood carving and wood firing, bingo and exercise classes are already going well, Anderson said, with expectations for even more memberships to follow the open house. .

Serrano Brothers Catering, which experienced a perfect storm as it prepped its operation, is eager to open up once the state finishes signing its plans. Marco Serrano’s vision developed from the initial vision. City officials continue to marvel at all the partnerships the facility has garnered.

Dalton sees the potential for a junior hockey team to move into the arena and section finals that will take place inside the 1,600-seat venue sponsored by Cornerstone Auto.

“We don’t forget the ice cream,” said Dalton. “We have a 1,600-seat stadium with (enough space) for 2,000 standing places. We want to use that.

Dalton says the magic of the event center won’t come true until the building is used to its capacity.

“The magic will happen when everyone can be here at the same time,” he said. “This place has a much wider appeal than just a skating rink. It really is for the whole community.

The Commissioners have learned a lot since they first met in the Advisory Committee.

“I think they all realized it was more important than anything they could have been involved in,” said Dalton. “I think this will change the community. It is not just a place for hockey and ice sports.

At 59, Dalton considers his work the cornerstone of his career. He also admits he’s not really the retired type, so he seems to be here for a while.

“I like to work,” he says. “I like working with people. I like to offer services to people.

“It’s an opportunity to work on something from scratch and it’s exciting. “

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