By ROGER SCHNEIDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The committee proposing the construction of a community center will be asking the public for more input on its location.
Committee member Bruce Stahly said alternative location options will be discussed at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Goshen High School cafeteria.
“One of the reasons the Goshen Community Center Inc. committee decided to delay the vote on the project from May to Nov. 5, 2013, was to allow community members more input into the site selection,” Stahly said in a news release Saturday.
The proposed center has an estimated cost of $27.6 million and would contain three swimming pools, three basketball courts, a track, a fitness center and community rooms. If it is constructed, the Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School pools would be removed and school teams would use the center’s pools for competitions. The school pools spaces would be repurposed for educational needs. When the cost of the bonding and the school reconstruction projects are included, the cost totals $35.5 million.
In addition, a fundraising campaign for a $5 million endowment for maintenance of the center is under way and organizers said 40 percent of that amount has been raised privately.
The original proposal called for the center to be constructed on the site of the former street department complex on the west side of the millrace. The Goshen Redevelopment Commission had the street department buildings torn down and polluted soil removed. There is just a grass covered lot at the location now. Stahly said the Redevelopment Commission is willing to donate the property for the center.
The City Council voted in January to put the issue of constructing the center and paying for it with bonds on a May referendum. The Goshen school board was also set to vote Jan. 28 on that referendum placement, but the committee asked that the referendum be moved to the ballot in November.
“Obviously the reason we are looking at the site is the cost,” Stahly said in a phone interview Saturday. “If we don’t have to build a bridge (over the millrace) and can cut down on the foundation, that is what we would do.”
He said the committee has $2 million budgeted for site work at the street department location.
“Of course, we are hoping that with another site we would not need as much in terms of site development,” he said.
He said the meeting is being held to get the public’s input on the location and discuss criteria for a site.
“It may not be less expensive, but we wanted to look at all the alternatives so the community knows we have done that,” Stahly said.
Another reason the meeting is being held, according to Stahly, is to address some concerns that the request to build a community center was rushed.
“We were hearing a lot of comments that ‘we think it is a good idea, but we want to think about it more,’” Stahly said.
After the Feb. 12 meeting there will be another public input meeting held to assist the committee in narrowing the site selection, according to Stahly. He said the committee wants to make a decision on the site by early April.
Information on the project can be accessed online at http://goshencommunitycenter.com/. Anyone wanting to ask specific questions of the committee can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.