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Thursday open house draws critics and tougher questions

An open house Thursday night regarding the proposed community center for Excelsior Springs drew a smaller crowd than the previous one—but it was also a tougher group.

There were some supporters in the audience on Thursday night as Tray Harkins, who serves as treasurer for Citizens for a Community Center, made presentations in the commons area at Excelsior Springs High School, but there were skeptics as well.

Harkins and other members of the committee responded to questions both in the large group and in smaller group conversations.

Among the concerns raised by attendees at the open house were the costs associated with the project—both the $18 million for construction (to be funded by the proceeds from a one-cent sales tax on the April 8 ballot) and the annual budget mostly paid by revenues from activities at the proposed facility. A small portion of the annual operations will be funded by an amount set aside from the sales tax proceeds and, in the first few years at least, by a small subsidy from the city’s overall budget.

But quite a few people also posed questions about the facility itself.

Some raised their eyebrows at the way the square footage is allocated at the proposed 49,340-square-foot community center.

In particular, they pointed out that 11,186 square feet for facility and building support spaces seemed out of line, but committee members explained that

this included not just office spaces—including the senior center manager’s office, programmers’ workstations, work room, break room, conference room and control desk, but also the lobby, locker rooms, family changing area, vending, public restrooms and mechanical, custodial and storage areas.

For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Tuesday, March 18 edition of The Standard.

By Jae Juarez • jae@leaderpress.com

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