Future of 5701 Merriam Drive

In mid-2020, the Parks and Recreation Department will move into the new community center being constructed at Vavra Park. What happens to the existing property at 5701 Merriam Drive and the Irene B. French Community Center (IBFCC) is of great interest to our residents. 

The current location of the IBFCC is an important asset to our community, not just because of its history, but because of its key location in downtown Merriam. The City of Merriam plans to facilitate an open process with several public meetings to determine how to honor the location's past while aiming to make it an asset for future generations. 

On Nov. 26, 2018, City Council appointed nine resident volunteers to serve as members of a steering committee to guide the work. These residents have a wide array of professional backgrounds and are spread across the city geographically as well as generationally. Committee members helped identify potential uses of the current site of the IBFCC and made a recommendation to City Council to include a preferred funding method for any improvements.

On Aug. 12, 2019, the 5701 Merriam Drive Steering Committee shared its final report to Merriam City Council.

Committee members met several times since October to determine best uses for the site. They hosted public meetings in April and June to meet with residents about potential uses and get feedback from the community.

Based on this work, the Committee’s final recommendation was for the City to keep as much of the existing 1911 building as structurally possible and then tear down the rest of the Irene B. French Community Center to make room for an amphitheater/stage, playgrounds, and green space.

View final report.

While the City Council voted to accept the final report and recognized the hard work of the Committee on this project, further study was needed to be done before the City Council could decide how to move forward. The City hired a structural engineer to do a more in-depth evaluation of the 1911 portion of the building. View the City Council work session discussing the future of the Irene B. French Community Center.

In July 2020, Merriam City Councilmembers voted to demolish the Irene B. French Community Center. The project is scheduled to begin in August.

The contractor – a Merriam business – will preserve some of the building materials for future city projects, including 40 cubic yards of stone from the 1911 portion of the building and one stone mosaic.

Once the building is removed, grass will be planted, and the site will remain green space for the near future. The City will continue conversations with residents about the future of the 5701 Merriam Drive site once this project is completed.


Public Meetings

Monday, April 29  |  7 p.m.  |  IBFCC
Thanks to everyone who attended the first public meeting!
Public Meeting Presentation | Public Meeting Video | Exercise Results

Wednesday, June 26  |  7 p.m.  |  IBFCC
Thanks to everyone who attended the second public meeting!                 Public Meeting Presentation | Public Meeting Video 


Committee Members  

  • Stoney Bogan - Ward 2
  • Staci Chivetta - Ward 4
  • Larry Cisneros - Ward 1
  • Billy Crook - Ward 4
  • Nida Dillon - Ward 4
  • Jacob Laha - Ward 1
  • Fred Tebbenkamp - Ward 3
  • Carol Whitlock - Ward 2
  • Sean Zaudke - Ward 4
  • Mayor Ken Sissom - Ex-Officio Member (non-voting member)
  • Christine Evans Hands - City Council Liaison (non-voting member)
  • David Neal - City Council Liaison (non-voting member)
  • Chris Engel - City Staff Liaison
  • Anna Slocum - City Staff Liaison


December 17, 2018   
Agenda  |  Minutes

March 18, 2019   
Agenda  |  Presentation  |  Minutes

April 9, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.   
Agenda  |  Presentation  |  Minutes  

April 29, 2019 - Public Meeting
Public Meeting Presentation
Public Meeting Video (YouTube)    
Exercise Results       

May 1, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.  

June 12, 2019                                        Agenda  |  Presentation  |  Minutes

June 26, 2019 - Public Meeting
Public Meeting Presentation
Public Meeting Video (YouTube)

Aug. 12, 2019 - City Council Meeting
Advisory Committee’s Report and Recommendation to the City Council

May 18, 2020 – City Council Work Session
Meeting Video