For the past six months, the proposed $35.5 Goshen community center project made for lively lunch counter conversation here in Goshen. The plan, which was abandoned on June 2, was to pool the borrowing power of both the city and the Goshen Community School Corp. to build a 99,000-square-foot complex that would have featured an aquatics center, fitness facilities and community rooms. The overall plan also included improvements/additions at both Goshen High School and Goshen Middle School.
The community center, which was initially set to be constructed just west of the millrace on the grounds of the old city garage, would have replaced the aging pool facilities at the high school and middle school. Now school corporation leaders are back to the drawing board in terms of addressing an obvious need.
Before we go any further, though, we want to commend the organizers and supporters of the former community center project. Their zeal and effort in pursuing this dream is what makes Goshen a great place to call home. It’s that kind of vision that keeps us moving forward and looking for ways to improve ourselves. The community center, as presented, would have been an incredible addition to The Maple City. Project Director Bruce Stahly deserves much credit for his hard work and dedication to advancing the project. In a perfect world, we’d be talking about this project for years to come.
However, it became clear to us early on that the community center project was simply more than what this community could handle right now. While the economy has improved, economic times are still fragile and the extra tax burden for the project would have been too much for many homeowners and businesses to bear. Ultimately, the community center organizers did the right thing and withdrew their support of a referendum on the project this coming November. It couldn’t have been easy for them, and we respect the spirit and community pride they brought to this discussion.
However, just because the community center project has been tabled doesn’t mean the pool matter is behind us. The fact remains that Goshen High School needs a new pool. The current pool will turn 52 years old on Nov. 7. Its mechanical system and spectator occupancy are woefully inadequate for a high school pool facility. School leaders have refocused their energy into a $17.1 million renovation and construction project that would include a new pool building.
The community should keep both its ears and minds open when considering this new project. While the community center project seemed more like wishful thinking, a new facility to replace the high school pool is a necessity in our eyes.