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Examiner
  • Track, aquatics desired for potential Blue Springs community center

  • The preliminary results are in, and Blue Springs residents say they’d most like to see an indoor walking/jogging track, an aquatics center and cardiovascular equipment included in a new community center.

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  • The preliminary results are in, and Blue Springs residents say they’d most like to see an indoor walking/jogging track, an aquatics center and cardiovascular equipment included in a new community center.
    That’s according to a recent scientific survey conducted by ETC Institute as part of the feasibility study for a potential community center in Blue Springs. Roughly 100 residents gathered Tuesday night to hear the results of that survey to date and other possibilities for a community center, which Mayor Carson Ross has called a priority in his second term.
    ETC distributed the survey to 2,500 Blue Springs residents based on a random sampling and in all three City Council districts. The results presented Tuesday included the responses of 388 individuals, but the company has received about 430 responses in total.
    According to those surveyed, 63 percent say a community center should serve families. Forty-five percent of respondents say they use an indoor facility right now, with the most popular answers including the use of private fitness clubs, YMCA and recreational programs in schools.
    Four to five miles, 40 percent of those questioned say, is the most that they’d be willing to travel to use a community center. Thirteen percent of those surveyed say they wouldn’t use an indoor community center at all.
    Classes at both Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools also each surveyed several hundred students. At both schools, a majority of respondents say they would use the center at least once a month. A majority of the surveyed students also said a community center is important to the city of Blue Springs.
    One resident asked Steve Blackburn, a principal with Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, one of the city’s partners for the feasibility study, about the top three amenities included in most community centers.
    Those three things, Blackburn said, vary among communities, but usually, the centers include a leisure pool, fitness/weight equipment and a walking/jogging track, similar to what Blue Springs residents say they’d like to see most.
    “I can tell you this: If you don’t give the residents what they want, they’re not going to pay for it,” he said.
    The feasibility study for the new community center/natatorium started in early November, and an additional community meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Blue Springs Freshman Center. The City Council is expected to review those results in April, which will include a suggestion for a funding structure.
    “You have a significant population that can support a significant community center,” Blackburn said. “It would not surprise me if Blue Springs spent over $20 million to create a center in this community.”
    The project’s consultants are conducting a market analysis, looking at the best potential site for a community center in Blue Springs, as well as alternative providers of similar services and measuring the gap of existing services.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We are just in the beginning phases of this,” said Jeff King, a founding partner of Ballard*King & Associates, one of the city’s other partners on the project. “Obviously, we’ve reported (Tuesday) night on some progress that’s been made, but this is really the start of the process. There will be many more opportunities to get involved.”  
     
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