Local resident Pam Perkins, green blazer, takes a look at the list of ideas that have been shared at the previous Focus on the Future meetings while committee member Rozelle Webb explains the intent behind some of the proposals. Daily Leader photo/Earl Watt
By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
After four previous meetings, new ideas were still being shared during the fifth public get-together to discuss the projects that the Focus on the Future Committee will present to the City. The suggestions will be considered for use of the 1-cent sales tax funds should the voters approve the plan in November.
Some of the new items added to the list included a possible convention center that could be a joint project with Seward County Community College/Area Technical School.
There was also concern about the Liberal Animal Shelter and if it should be expanded or revamped. The idea of having a spay and neuter program for pets was also discussed.
Local resident Pam Perkins also asked if the city’s sound ordinances could be enforced. The concern was the volume of music that is played in neighborhoods that disrupts other outdoor activities, and in some cases can be heard inside as well.
The idea was also shared about planning for the 25th anniversary of the Mid-America Air Museum in 2012 with an air show, and to fund a large-scale presentation with the 1-cent sales tax. Liberal has a history of air shows that included performances by the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Canadian Snowbirds, the Harrier jet, a fly-over by the Stealth bomber and many more. The shows drew crowds in the tens of thousands and provided an economic boost to the community.
Lisa Hatcher, an advocate for the community recreation center, asked if more details could be presented to the commissioners on what the facility would include. She suggested that some of the other requests (storm shelter, meeting rooms, convention center, etc.) might be incorporated into the rec center. Meeting facilitator Jack Taylor pointed out that $1.1 million has already been set aside for the community rec center as a sign of good faith on the city’s behalf that once passed, the new recreation center can begin to be built.
Some in attendance thought that the percentages should be changed. In the past, percentages of the tax were allocated to certain categories including 50 percent for streets, drainage and capital improvements. With some goals already attained with past projects, there was discussion to change the percentages or to list projects to be approved rather than use the same percentages as before.
Additional projects that were discussed include:
• Public transportation.
• Clean-up of property south of Hampton Inn.
• Mark crosswalks.
• Add handicapped crosswalks.
• Provide a Red Cross Building.
• Landscape with low maintenance products.
A final public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 1 at the Rock Island Depot. Once those ideas are added to the previous discussions, a final list will be presented to the Liberal City Commission and city staff.