Organizers of the Steeple Square project had a chance to show off their accomplishments Sunday.
The continuing project is transforming the former St. Mary’s Catholic Parish property at 15th and White streets into a campus offering a community/event center, 12 apartments, offices for nonprofit organizations and child care.
“We started four years ago, to show the neighborhood how we wanted to be involved here in the Washington neighborhood and it was very successful the first year. We probably had about 250 young people, parents and some of the older neighbors attending,” said John Dunkel, a Steeple Square board member. “It has grown from that. The third year, last year, we were roughly 450 people that came.”
Sunday’s event included games, face painting, food, music, a petting zoo and an opportunity to give visitors an update on the progress of the initiative.
“We host this event to celebrate the neighborhood and the greater Dubuque community and to show people what’s going on here on the campus,” said Nicole Gantz, a member of the Steeple Square board of directors. “This year, we’re excited because we have made so much progress the past four years.”
Steeple Square organizers opened the Marita Theisen Childcare Center in August.
The $1.6 million project the former St. Mary’s church rectory into a more than 9,000-square-foot child care center for about 70 pupils from 6 weeks of age through preschool.
“That has been very exciting for us, to be able to offer affordable child care in this part of Dubuque,” Gantz said.
Steeple Square organizers continue to raise money for the project — both to complete renovation of the former church and maintain operation of the nonprofit child care center.
Organizers said that the physical renovation work will be completed by August 2020, if all funding falls into place.
“We’re excited about serving a very diverse population,” said Judy Wolf, a Steeple Square board member. “It’s a resource for the entire community.”
Gisela Gauf, of Dubuque, strolled around the plaza with her family Sunday. Gauf was attending Community Fest for the first time.
“It’s a nice place to visit and congregate with other people,” she said.