Let’s work together on recreation

Published 1:06 am Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A combined meeting last week between city, county and school district officials has the potential to be a turning point in our community’s future.

Two issues were raised that have the potential to derail cooperation between the three entities.

The first is the school district’s plan to build a new high school on a large tract of the land previously set aside for a community recreation complex.

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We urge all three groups to work together — with other community leaders — to find the best solution here. We view recreation as important and the plans created would bring the area’s recreation facilities in the modern era.

To quickly decide to use approximately half the land for something entirely different simply doesn’t make sense. More consideration is due here.

Secondly, bids for construction of the new community swimming pool came in approximately $700,000 over budget.

That is an incredible miss on the estimate and worthy of pause. We trust city, county and recreation commissioners will revisit the details of the pool and consider rebidding the project again.

We understand the belief among some that moving forward with the pool’s construction shows evidence of progress for recreation, but we still believe we trying to piecemeal what should be a much larger, much more comprehensive plan may ultimately cause the plans to be shortchanged over time.

Cost overruns, missed estimates and the occasional fly balls such as the school district seeking to use half the available land are going to keep coming and, over time, hamper efforts to do recreation correctly.

The land use request from the school district and the cost estimate overrun gives us all a chance to pause, catch our breath and again decide what direction we want to take recreation — baby steps that continue to cause us to stumble or confident strides into the future. Our community needs the latter; we hope our leaders have the vision and courage to make it happen.