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Archive for Sunday, September 14, 1997

SOUND OFF ON HEALTH FACILITY

September 14, 1997

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I see they're building a new health facility at $14 million with the 1-cent sales tax. When I voted for the tax, I thought it was for recreation centers. But I'm not getting any recreation center at Centennial Park. Is this all out of the same fund?

Yes, both projects are financed through revenues from a 1-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.

The $14.2 million community health facility, to be located across Maine Street from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, is being financed jointly by Lawrence and Douglas County, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

As mentioned on the actual ballot, portions of revenues from the sales tax were to be used for: "The acquisition, construction and improvement of facilities for the Bert Nash Mental Heath Center, the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn., and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, and attendant improvements and costs."

The recreation center, a city project, came under a different portion of the ballot mandating: "The development and operation of parks and recreation facilities and programs, including the acquisition of property, attendant improvements and related costs, pursuant to the City of Lawrence's adopted comprehensive plan for parks and recreation."

The master plan called for building a $5.7 million community recreation center in Centennial Park. Lawrence city commissioners later planned to build a $13.3 million center in the park, only to abandon plans last year in the face of intense public opposition.

A task force currently is studying options for addressing the community's recreation center needs. Public meetings to hear suggestions are scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 8 and Sept. 22.

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