To the editor:
After reading the recreation center article in the Aug. 4 Journal-World, I was struck by the lack of definitive answers and the effect a mega rec center would have on taxpayers. The future and complexity of this project is based on words like, “maybe,” “pretty positive,” “think,” “projection,” “about,” “estimating.” If any of these actions are off the mark by very much, the taxpayer will have to “pony up” money over and above what our debt load was in the initial construction. Can we afford a $24 million cash outlay over 20 years? We probably can afford a Ford but we want a Rolls Royce. The report says “the project will not directly pay for itself.”
Johnson County is currently paying over $1 million per year operating cost on a facility that is half the size of the Lawrence proposed facility. And the city thinks $2.2 million per year will catch it. Any underfunding would be made up from a tax designated to fund several recreation projects already on the books. What happens to those projects?
We started out wanting a rec facility and have a generous contribution from coach Self to kick it off. We now want a mega facility. Government cannot be all things to all people. We promote our community as a great place to live, raise a family and retire, but if we continually buy things we can’t afford who will want to live here because of taxes and debt load.