Omni Center on the right track

A look at improvements one year later

It’s been one year since the city of Onalaska retook control of the Omni Center. The city terminated its deal with a private contractor after only one year. Officials say cutting ties and regaining control of the center was a good move. Since taking back control, Onalaska has made some improvements to the facility.

Mayor Joe Chilsen says the Omni Center has been doing well.

“We’re much better off; much better finacial position. Revenues are up; costs are down. Everything’s headed in the right direction,” Chilsen said.

Part of the reason is the improvements the city has made to the building.

“We’ve added carpeting, we’ve painted all the front entry walls, we have a lot of different events coming in here, and we want to try to get a little bit of that ‘wow’ factor when they come in,” Onalaska Parks and Recreation Director Dan Wick said.

Wick said the image is important to get people in the building.

“The word of mouth. If people say positive things about the facility, it spreads faster. If there’s negative things, that spreads pretty fast also,” Wick said.

Wick said the city has been getting feedback from groups that use the facility. They want to make everyone’s experience a good one.

Foot traffic is the big thing. Getting more people in here. If they don’t know what the Omni Center has to offer — we’re trying to expand that to get more people in the door,” Wick said.

There have also been improvements made to the ice rinks, which are used year-round for hockey and figure skating. Things like a new Zamboni expected to arrive this week maintain those improvements.

The Center is also hoping to purchase and add a sports court for three basketball courts or six volleyball courts. These would be used for camps and leagues in the summer time. Funding for the court should be decided at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting.