Let’s pass referendum for recreation center

October 27, 2012

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There are a number of important issues facing voters in the Nov. 6 General Election. Early voting for that election started this week.

The decision that will ultimately be made by the majority of voters nationwide will determine the direction of our country over the next four years. A decision by local voters will determine our quality of life and economic health for years to come.

A proposed $10 million recreation center is on the ballot. Yes, it will mean paying slightly more for property taxes, but the benefits will be well worth it.

The county plans to contract with the YMCA of Hood County to operate and staff the center. The Y already is popular with a number of Hood County residents – so much so that it outgrew its current county-owned building on Harbor Lakes Drive some time ago.

If the center is built, virtually everyone will benefit. Children will have another place to swim in the summer, as well as the opportunity to participate in various camps and programs.

Adults can improve their health through workouts and exercise classes.

And local businesses and restaurants will be infused with dollars spent by out-of-town visitors when they come here for swim meets.

A rec center would be one more reason why people would want to live in Hood County. It would improve quality of life, along with property values.

There are important facts for voters to know:

Should the partnership between the county and the Y dissolve for any reason in the future, the county would then contract with another entity to handle operations.

The county is not trying to help one business at the expense of others. County officials are contractually obligated to assist the Y in finding a larger place. That was part of the agreement when county officials asked the Y to locate here several years ago.

Privately owned gyms tend to feature personal trainers; the Y does not offer that service. Privately owned gyms also typically do not offer scholarships and the range of community programs offered through the Y.

Yes, the planned location on James Road near Acton Middle School will be a bit of a drive for some folks, but that would be the case no matter the location.

The property on James Road is being donated by the Granbury school district.

If the county were to build a bigger facility at the current Y location, it would have to spend $3 million to incorporate surrounding land needed for expansion.

If the school district funded its own facility for swim meets, it would then have the added financial burden of operational costs.

This partnership between the county, the school district and the YMCA is a win for everyone – most of all, the people who have made Hood County their home.

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