- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - An advisory commission in Dubuque has recommended a $68.5 million construction plan for a local multi-purpose facility.

Members of Dubuque’s Civic Center Advisory Commission recommended the plan for the Five Flags Center on Monday, the Telegraph Herald reported. The plan includes renovating the center’s theater, expanding the facility and building a new 6,000-seat arena.

A consulting firm presented a report last month with multiple options for addressing the center’s future. Commission members unanimously voted to recommend the fourth idea presented, which was one of two that called for expanding the facility.

Commission chairwoman McKenzie Hill says public feedback indicated that the option chosen was the most popular among Dubuque residents. Most of the residents’ preferences were gathered in June 2017 through an online survey. More opinions were shared during a public input session at the civic center last month.

“The feedback to me felt like, ‘If we’re going to make an investment, don’t make three-quarters of an investment,” said Commission Member Bryce Parks. “Don’t go halfway.”

The City Council will consider the recommendation on July 2.

Discussions about the future of the center come at a time when management is drawing some of the biggest acts in the venue’s four-decade history, like Willie Nelson, who performed to more than 4,000 people at center in April.

Facility General Manager H.R. Cook said a recommendation approval would open up a variety of new options to the facility. He said a larger arena would allow the venue to book large-scale sporting events and tournaments, such as wrestling.

“It does open us up for a lot of shows you would see in the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines or Madison,” Cook said.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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