Public voices concerns about community center in McLouth
by Dennis Sharkey
A public hearing was held in McLouth last week to answer questions and concerns with the development of a new community center.
Grant writer Garrett Nordstrom along with city and recreation commission leaders met with a handful of citizens to field questions on a wide range of areas, but most questions centered around the grant and the process that will be used to move the project forward.
One question of interest centered around a survey that is currently under way that determines the percentage of residents that fall in the categories of low to moderate income. In order to qualify the city must exceed 51 percent of the number of residents that fall in this category. The city attempted to qualify twice in the past but was not successful. The last attempt was in 2001.
“We go out and try and prove those numbers wrong and try to get more account of the low to moderate income situation,” Nordstrom said.
He said one of the best survey administrators in the state is currently working on McLouth’s survey and that they are not required to get 100 percent participation in the survey although getting as close to the that number is the goal.
When the survey is complete the results will be released to the public.
Another concern was how the grant will be administered and who will do it. Nordstrom said it will be up to the city to hire someone to administer the grant.
Since the effort to build a community center is a combined effort of the city, school district and recreation commission, some are concerned about cooperation. A consensus of all three groups expressed a united effort but it was made clear that the recreation commission will be in control of the building.
Some residents are concerned about what will happen to the library and the vacated space adjacent to the library that is used for community center activities.
“That’s too far down the road,” City Administrator Carl Chalfant said. “We will entertain that after we try and get the new one built.”
Chalfant said the building is in sound condition and that the library will not be moving to the new center. It has been expressed by several people that the library may be interested in expanding into the potential unused space.
Resources for senior citizens will also be a focus. The center will be American Disability Act complaiant and there will be hard top parking for seniors.
The grant will be submitted later this month. An answer should come sometime in January.
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