• Blue Springs gauging opinions on a possible community center

  • Every time the results of a Blue Springs citizen survey are released, there is one project that tops the priority list – a community center.

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  • Every time the results of a Blue Springs citizen survey are released, there is one project that tops the priority list – a community center.
    “I think community centers are truly becoming more common place,” said Dennis Dovel, director of the Blue Springs Parks and Recreation Department. “Almost every city has a community center or multiple community centers anymore.”
    Every 18 months, the city of Blue Springs revises its comprehensive city plan. The process, which outlines long-term projects and needs for the city, typically includes a citizen survey to gauge the opinions of Blue Springs residents.
    The Blue Springs City Council and the Blue Springs Park Commission began the feasibility study for a community center/natatorium this month. SFS Architecture is partnering with Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture to conduct the study.
    During the feasibility study process, community members will have the opportunity to give input. Dovel said this will happen in one of two ways - through a statistically valid survey mailed to a random group of residents and through two public meetings. These will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and Jan. 8. The location has not yet been determined.
    During the meetings and through the public survey, residents will be presented with several options for a community center with aquatics feature as well as with information as to how much the project would cost. They will also be asked if they are willing to fund the construction of a community center through a tax increase or other funding mechanism and how much they would like to see usage fees set for a community center.
    “The community will get a very good look at the options and project costs during this study,” said Eric Johnson, Blue Springs city administrator. “Once the study is complete, then we can move on to an analysis of funding options, assess the viability of the project and identify potential partners. We are still in the investigative mode.”
    Dovel said this is the first feasibility study to focus solely on a community center in Blue Springs. A study that began in 2007 and finished the following year focused mainly on an aquatics facility, separate from a community center. The results from this new study are expected to be presented to the city council in April.
    “A community center is a place that isn’t just aquatics or walking tracks. It could be a multitude of things, including meeting areas and other large open spaces for families and community members to utilize,” Dovel said. “I think it is something connected with quality of life, and it is an opportunity for an all-encompassing space for families. It is something that really appeals to everyone.”
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