Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 5, 2013

Community center plan not sound

— A recent poll in The Goshen News showed that a majority of Goshen taxpayers believe the Goshen Community Center should be abandoned or is too expensive to continue. Here are my concerns from recent discussions with involved individuals.

• We should thank local businessmen who have recently invested significant dollars in fitness facilities in Goshen instead of steamrolling them with a taxpayer-funded, $28 million dollar competing fitness facility.

• The poll indicates the fitness center is not one of the top priorities to taxpayers. A fitness membership in GCC would be a luxury to many taxpayers with budget constraints. Tax dollars to pay for this are also a heavy burden for those families. Didn’t we just end a healthy negotiation on tax dollars for trash pickup?

• I understand that a competitive swimming facility can be built for less than one-third the cost of the GCC proposal. That option would provide the swim families a great facility while minimizing their tax burden.

• My discussions indicated 7 percent of residents are projected to use the fitness facility. Thus 93 percent are projected not to use it.  

• “Community” and “fitness” in Goshen can be encouraged in Goshen without a $28 million investment in bricks and mortar.  

• Large and costly facilities, such as the GCC, often cause extreme future financial burdens for the taxpayers when their projected operations do not measure up to their actual results. There were two local examples of this in the news Sunday.

I would encourage the promoters of the GCC to think of how to use the private funding obtained to partner with privately owned companies, government groups and maybe First Fridays to see how “fitness” and “community” can be further encouraged in Goshen without significant investment in bricks and mortar.  

— Douglas Nisley, CPA