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Aquatic center proposal may be decided by voters next May

GRANDVIEW - If the Grandview Parks and Recreation Service Area Board has its way, voters will take to the polls May 17, 2005 to decide the fate of the proposed family aquatic center set to be built at Euclid Park.

Thursday night, the service area board met to get a consensus on when the election should be held, as well as go over the group's action plan for the proposal.

Grandview Parks and Recreation Director Mike Carpenter said he felt that the spring election date would be beneficial to the proposal.

"It's in spring when people are starting to think about water activities," Carpenter said.

He added that if the May 17 date is officially chosen as the date of the election, they board will have an April 1 deadline to turn all of their election information over to the county.

"I completely believe that's the date we should use," Carpenter told the board.

He said getting a consensus on the election date will put a lot of other things into motion, noting that he and Board Chair Dave Copeland will bring the date to city council during their Nov. 1 meeting.

Board member Pam Horner added that if the election takes place in May and the aquatic center measure is approved the facility could be up and running by summer 2006.

Last time the board brought a proposal for a family aquatics center before the voters, the election was held in November. The measure failed.

During last night's meeting, the board also took time to review its action plan, which includes a list of tasks to be completed before the proposed May election.

The action plan includes educating community members about the family aquatic center project, addressing any concerns from the community and recruiting members for the SPLASH campaign committee.

According to the action plan, the board will set up community meetings where voters will get a chance to see different designs for the aquatics facility, as well as ask any questions they might have about the project.

Carpenter said one of the concerns that was raised through the surveys that the board distributed earlier this summer dealt with the possible loss of soccer fields if the center is built at Euclid Park. Carpenter said he spoke to Grandview Schools Superintendent Kevin Chase about the issue, and was told that it could be possible to move one of the soccer fields onto school grounds.

"So we won't lose that," Carpenter said.

He added that he has also been talking to representatives of the Youth Soccer Association about the possibility of putting in two youth-sized soccer fields at Dykstra Park.

Board member Jesse Palacios noted that one important thing to keep in mind when talking to people about the project is that according to the surveys the aquatics center is a project that most people want to support.

"This is a quality of life priority," Palacios said. He added that in every community the board visited over the summer, the aquatics facilities that had been built had proven to be positive assets.

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