SHOREWOOD — The renovated Shorewood Community and Event Center may be a hidden gem for individuals and businesses looking for a place to hold various kinds of activities.

Marty Hage, spokesman for Living Faith Christian Church, which holds Sunday services at the center, agrees.

“The remodeling? It’s fabulous,” Hage said Sunday while the group finished its service and prepared for a potluck-style meal. “The renovations have been very good. This has been a very nice place to meet.”

The group, which has participants from as far away as St. Cloud and Hudson, Wisconsin, has been renting the facility for five years, including when it was formerly known as Southshore Center.

“They have been very good to us and had a great reputation of taking care of the place,” Hage said. “It was very nice before, but now, it’s really nice! The renovations have been very good.”

City officials list a number of improvements to the estimated 7,300-square foot building, including a new entrance, updated lighting and electrical wiring, and new flooring in most areas.

The estimated $150,000 in improvements also includes new furnishings and a patio area that has not been completed, according to City Administrator Greg Lerud.

“We’re about 95 percent complete,” he said. “It has been available continuously during the entire remodeling process. We are doing our best to try and get the word out how nice this place is and that it’s available for use by the public.”

Southshore Center signage still exists in some places, including in large letters at the main entrance. That is expected to soon change to the new name, Lerud said.

Shorewood and the communities of Deephaven, Excelsior, Tonka Bay and Greenwood initially were part of the Southshore Center project, but disagreements between the communities began over responsibilities for ongoing maintenance costs for the facility, Lerud said.

“Because it was located in Shorewood, most of that responsibility fell on Shorewood,” he said, adding that the situation went to mediation.

Shorewood eventually paid a total of about $300,000 to the other communities about three years ago to “buy them out,” Lerud said. “We are very proud of what it has become and it fits in well with the entire campus we have here now.”

The campus near the city offices building includes a number of recreational facilities.

Twila Grout, center director, said the center provides “those living in the western suburbs a great place to host a party, business gathering, meeting, or activity.”

In an effort to inspire additional facility use, Friday rentals between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. are being offered for half price through the end of August.

“Our community center is a great option for many small businesses and community organizations, but many do not know where the center is, or they haven’t seen the new updated look and feel of the center,” Grout said.

The facility was originally designed to be used as a senior center. Meetings and programs for seniors are still held there, but it also serves as a place for such things as receptions, business meetings, group gatherings and tutoring programs.

“It’s scalable to what people want,” Lerud said.

Shorewood residents and nonprofit groups pay a reduced rate, according to rate sheets. Rate schedules are based on day, time and length of use, as well as the number and type of rooms utilized.

The banquet room, which can be partitioned into two rooms, has a capacity of 175, while the activity room holds up to 60 and the conference room has space for a maximum of 25. The commercial-style kitchen facilities can also be rented.

“Overall, we’re making the center business friendly and party friendly,” said Julie Moore, Shorewood’s communications/recycling coordinator. “We have big TVs and all the electronics needed to be responsive to what people want. If we don’t have what they want and it’s within our budget, we will do out best to get it.”

Moore said there are times when activities will be going on in each room by separate entities, including groups which have simultaneously utilized each side of the partitioned dining room area.

Tables of various sizes are available and renters are allowed to bring in their own food and beverages, but there is a liquor policy, Moore said.

“We get baby showers, receptions, graduation and birthday parties, business events, teen groups, community events and other things in here,” Moore said. “Every time we have an event here, people who live in Shorewood say they didn’t know it was back here.”

Lerud said people who may not have visited the area in several years “won’t recognize it now’ because of the facility, shelter, playground, walking path, turf field and other improvements.

“The changes have been very good. We’re excited for people to learn about it all and use it,” Lerud said.

The Shorewood Community and Event Center is located at 5735 Country Club Road, adjacent to Badger Park turf field and Shorewood City Hall. You can contact the center by calling 952-474-7635.

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