Public yet to show up at first 2 meetings
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
City Manager Mark Hall and Recreation Director Gary Scott met Monday evening to discuss possible concepts regarding a recreation center. In order to place a recreation center on the ballot for approval for the May 10 special election, details must be ready for the public to vote upon.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24 and every Monday thereafter until Feb. 28, meetings to discuss and construct, on paper, a plan for a possible recreation center will be conducted at the current rec center located at Blue Bonnet Park.
Hall suggested to Scott to simply draw a box and allow participants present at the meeting to discuss and decide what to put in the box which will become a recreation center if the voters give their approval on May 10.
“What we want to go over in these meetings is we are trying to work towards how big the box is and what is in the box,” Hall said. “That is the tough part because we can’t have everything in the box. As we go further into it, what rules need to be in the box – what is acceptable.
“What we will do is draw a box and say, ‘Folks, we have got to decide what goes in that box,’” he explained. “Now, not everything can fit. The more you put in it, the bigger the box gets, the more cost it is. So, we need to decide what we can do with and without.”
Hall and Scott will also ask participants to realistically come up with a fair membership cost.
“For everything that you do in this box, you will have to sign up for and pay your membership and we won’t nickel and dime you,” Hall said. “If we went that route, what would you be willing to pay for an adult membership and a child’s membership? People will need to understand that we have to pay to operate the box. We have to be realistic.”
Another important factor, Hall said, is deciding what age a child must be in order to attend the new recreation center without the supervision of a parent or guardian.
A location is another detail that must be worked out. Hall and Scott currently have three possible locations to introduce to those attending the meetings. Those locations are Seventh St. and Industrial Ave., Stadium Rd. and Eighth St. and North Blue Bonnet Park.
Hall said he would like to have a proposed design and location complete with cost of construction and cost of operation by Feb. 28. After that process is complete, the City of Liberal will have over two months to inform voters of exactly what they will be voting on.
“Staff must prepare the cost of the building and the cost of operation,” Hall said. “That has to be on the ballot.”