Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Facility consultant seeks input

March 23, 2006

A meeting last Wednesday conducted by Ballard-King Associates, the consultants hired to determine the feasibility of various facility questions in the Baldwin community, was more about getting input than providing answers.

About 15 people attended what had been billed as a "town hall meeting," but they ended up providing the information, not Jeff King, the consultant. Several city and school district officials were in attendance.

"This meeting was to get a bit of input for finalizing the feasibility study," said Monte Ezell, director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission, which is funding the study along with the Baldwin School District and Baldwin City Council. "It was determined that we would need to have a couple more meetings in the near future to give everyone a chance to participate."

Ezell wasn't sure when those meetings will be, but will get the word out.

King did share some numbers on the demographics of the Baldwin community. He said the service area that would be included in the feasibility study stretches as far north as close to Lawrence, to the south to Ottawa and to the east at Gardner. The western border wasn't as clearly defined. That surprised Mayor Gary Walbridge, who attended the meeting, and filled council members in at Monday's meeting.

"They think of 3,800 as the community of Baldwin. He said 18,000," Walbridge said of the service area. "It makes it more do able."

City Administrator Jeff Dingman was also in attendance and also shared his thoughts.

"We broke into groups and discussed what kind of facilities we'd like to have in regards to recreation and other facilities," Dingman said.

Council President Amy Cleavinger led one group and School Board Member Scott Lauridsen led the other. The consensus of the groups were these needs:

1) additional gymnasium space with an indoor walking track,

2 )indoor aquatics

3) multipurpose space(s) with kitchen facilities

4) performing arts space/auditorium

5) senior activities space

6) babysitting space

"I would say that the list hits it right on the head," Ezell said.

Although some in attendance were disappointed that there weren't more specifics, others thought the information presented and the input sought was good.

"I thought it was a good meeting," said Cleavinger.

The Ballard-King preliminary demographics document is available at City Hall. It will be up dated as more information is gathered.

"If you want to know what's in it, it's available," said Council Member Tony Brown.

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