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Archive for Tuesday, November 19, 1996

CITY OFFICIALS GIVEN EARFUL ON REC CENTER

November 19, 1996

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Cost overruns mean different things to different people, city officials learned Monday night.

Mayor John Nalbandian, attending a meeting of the Douglas County Property Owners Assn., assured 100 people in the audience there would be no cost overruns on the city's upcoming Centennial Park Community Recreation Center.

"Once we borrow money, that's what it's going to cost us," he said. "If it's going to cost any more, then something has to be cut back."

But that's not the point, said Larry Kipp, a member of the group. When the city pitched its sales tax proposal in 1994, officials said the community would get 10 separate parks projects for $12.2 million.

Today, the recreation center alone is set to cost $13.3 million.

"That's the cost overrun that we look at," Kipp said.

The give-and-take of audience questions and official responses continued for nearly two hours and covered everything from golf course subsidies to private-enterprise interference. But the focus of the discussion surrounded the recreation center, which could be under construction by year's end and open in the summer of 1998.

Don Cashatt, co-chair of the 255-member group, said before the meeting that his membership would like to reverse the 1994 sales tax vote if it were possible because of the extravagant spending of elected officials. The group also wanted to put off any construction of the center until after April 1, which is the next commission election.

"We believe that we're not seeing the project developed in the way it was sold to us," Cashatt told Nalbandian and Commissioner Jo Andersen, who spoke during the meeting at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Nalbandian and Andersen said the recreation center project was meant to serve the entire community, not like a neighborhood center as envisioned before the election. They also couldn't explain how a consultant estimated such a low cost before the 1994 election.

"In the future, I hope we can do better," Andersen said.

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