Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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March 27, 2013

Proposed Goshen community center narrowed to five potential sites

One more site was eliminated for the Goshen Community Center during a meeting Tuesday inside the Goshen High School cafeteria. After a discussion in small groups about the positive and negative aspects of the six  remaining sites, the Quality Drive Away site west of North Main Street, was agreed to be eliminated by Goshen residents and members of the Goshen Community Center Inc. Committee.

Some of the reasons for elimination of the Quality Drive Away site included access to the property, the proximity to the railroad and the question of the water table level.

“This is community involvement and the community is making the decision,” said Bruce Stahly, project director for the Goshen Community Center. “When we are using taxpayers money, we need to involve the public.”

The other five sites are the west side of the millrace — as originally proposed, the Plymouth Avenue site located directly across from Goshen Middle School, the old Western Rubber site at Douglas and Plymouth, the Greencroft site along C.R. 27 and the old Holiday Inn site by U.S. 33 and Fairfield Avenue.

Holiday Inn and Western Rubber sites received the strongest mention from the small groups, Stahly said.

The three remaining sites received equal mention.

“Each site has some concerns,” Stahly said.

In the beginning, there were 10 sites. Other sites to be eliminated are the northern most site, North Meadows, the southern most site, Dierdorff Road near Prairie View Elementary School, the 4-H fairground site and the Fidler’s Pond site.

Stahly counted 12 new people attending Tuesday that hadn’t been at the Feb. 12 meeting.

“What is a little bit perplexing,” he said, “is there are about five or six people on the subcommittee that are not here.”

Last December the committee unveiled its vision for the community center as part of a $35.5 million joint project between the city of Goshen and Goshen Community Schools. That project calls for building a $27.5 million, 99,000-square-foot community center that would house three swimming pools, three basketball courts, a running track, a fitness center/weight room and multiple community rooms.

The project would be financed through a bond issue with approximately $18.4 million being borrowed by the city and $17.1 million by the school corporation.

The plan is for voters in Goshen and voters in the Goshen Community School Corporation boundaries to vote on the project financing in a referendum in November.

Members of the Goshen Community Center Inc. committee decided to delay the referendum, originally set for May, in order to provide the opportunity for additional community meetings to ensure the public is adequately informed about the project.

A Goshen resident who declined to give their name asked Stahly about the referendum during Thursday’s meeting.

“If this is voted down,” she asked, “is it done?”

“Yes, it (would be) done,” Stahly answered.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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