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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • No action taken on Rec Center proposal

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  • Newton Recreation Commission board members continue to discuss a proposed renovation project for the Rec Center and want to do more research before making a decision.
    Newton City Commissioners recently voted to forward a proposal for $1.125 million in renovations and improvements at the Newton Recreation Center to the Newton Recreation Commission for their input. While Rec Commission board members discussed that proposal at their meeting Monday night, no action was taken, said Brian Bascue, NRC superintendent.
    "They're really just taking everything in," he said of the board members.
    Throughout 2012, city of Newton and Recreation Commission officials discussed the future of Newton's aging Rec Center. A variety of proposals have been brought forward, ranging from making repairs to the current Rec Center to authorizing a major renovation and expansion of the entire facility.
    The proposal approved by the City Commission involves the city paying for construction costs on the project, and the NRC will be responsible for reimbursing those costs by making scheduled payments to the city. City officials have said the proposal would not require a mill levy increase.
    Bascue said the Rec Commission still wants to discuss all the plans previously proposed by Commissioner Jim Nickel. Some could possibly include a mill levy increase. The ideas included:
    1) Repair the existing Rec Center in phases. The first phase will include renovating the therapy pool and locker rooms, new gym floor and concrete repair, new gym lights, basement renovation and second floor renovation, and upgrading the existing building exterior. Project cost is approximately $1.1 million and can be accomplished without a tax increase.
    2) Renovation and expansion of the existing facility. Project cost is $4.3 million.
    3) A more extensive renovation and addition to the existing facility. The project cost is approximately $10 million.
    4) Renovation and expansion of the existing facility in conjunction with a Newton YMCA. The YMCA will invest $10 million into their facility, with an additional $5 million raised locally. The city would invest $10 million, with $4 million going toward various Newton Rec Commission facility improvements, $1 million toward general infrastructure development, and $5 million toward an outdoor pool facility located at the YMCA.
    Bascue said option No. 1 could serve as a temporary fix, with more extensive work occurring in the future. The idea behind that proposal could be, "Let's get some things taken care of now, and down the road we can look at the addition," he said.
    Bascue said a start date for the Rec Center improvement project remains up in the air.
    Other business
    At their meeting, Newton Recreation Commission members also approved extending the 8-Man football state championships through 2015. Bascue said the Newton Recreation Commission has hosted the event for seven years, and the championships provide an important boost to the local economy.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's a great event," he said. "... People stay in motels, and eat, and (get) gas. There's a lot of money spent in Newton."
     
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