• Final open meeting set to discuss ideas for Blue Springs community center

  • Blue Springs residents have one more chance to voice their opinion concerning the possibility of the city’s first community center.

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  • Blue Springs residents have one more chance to voice their opinion concerning the possibility of the city’s first community center.
    The Blue Springs City Council and Park Commission are inviting residents to the last of two public meetings on the idea. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Blue Springs Freshman Center, 2013 N.W. Vesper St.
    During the first community meeting in December, the results of a scientific survey, conducted by the ETC Institute, were released. According to that survey, Blue Springs residents are most interested in a community center that includes a walking/jogging track, cardiovascular equipment and an aquatics center.
    “This is their (the community members) time to get engaged and be brought in at the ground level to provide information on what they want to see in a community center,” said Dennis Dovel, director of the Blue Springs Parks and Recreation Department. “We feel that the community needs to have input in the process, so they don’t feel like this is something that has been decided without their input.”
    A community center has been discussed by city officials for years, primarily because it always appears at the top of the public's priority list during the annual citizen survey. The city started a feasibility study in October, enlisting the help of SFS Architecture and Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, to see what they wanted in a center and what they would be willing to pay to construct such a facility. Among the questions being asked are would the community be willing to fund the construction of a community center through a tax increase or other funding mechanism, how much they would like to see set as usage fees, what amenities they would like to see included and how often they think they would actually use such a facility.
    Currently, a market analysis is being conducted to look at potential sites for a community center as well as who might provide similar services in the area.
    Dovel said this is the first feasibility study of this magnitude to focus on a community center in the Blue Springs community. A study five years ago focused mainly on building a separate aquatics facility and did not include anything substantial on a community/aquatics center combo.
    “I think a community center is something connected with quality of life, and it is an opportunity for an all-encompassing space for families,” Dovel said. “It is something that really appeals to everyone, which is why I think there has always been so much interest.”
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