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Rec center's fate now in voters' hands

"After further review...the proposed $16 million bond for a 90,000 square foot recreation center will go on the Nov. 6 ballot.On Aug. 23 the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation commissioners unanimously voted in favor of putting the bond on the ballot.The 20-year bond will be accompanied by a two-year operations and maintenance levy.It was recently announced that operations and maintenance costs cannot be included in a bond issue.The 20-year bond will cost 43 cents per $1,000 property valuation. The two-year operations and maintenance levy will cost 13 cents per $1,000 property valuation.The recreation center will include: three indoor basketball/volleyball courts, tennis and pickleball courts, computer and game rooms, an indoor track, a covered miniature golf course, exercise and weight rooms, meeting rooms, flower and vegetable gardens, an indoor multi-purpose field for hockey, soccer, or football, day care, and a multi-purpose room for things such as arts, crafts, concerts, and dances.On Aug. 9 a packed room of community members anticipated the park commissioners to vote whether the bond be put on ballot.But commissioners Dennis Weaver and Winnie Flores-Logan had received budget information two days earlier and said they needed more time to look at the information.Two weeks later, only a handful of community members showed up for the commissioners' decision.Flores-Logan made a statement before the board voted. Since the meeting I have had the opportunity to review the proposal in detail, she said. While I am now convinced that the proposal has merit and represents a desire to to offer something positive to the community, I have concerts about the relevance and validity of some of the information provided in the proposal.Some of those concerns dealt with what she thought was underestimated operations costs, and the ability for the school district to pass future bonds--which may include a bond to build a new high school.It would be a disservice to this community to not see this thing through to completion after asking the voters to support such a costly proposal.After the unanimous vote a crowd of supporters soon turned the smiles on their faces to work faces.Now the real work begins, commissioner Chuck Jeu said.Jeu has been the workhorse to get a recreation center build.For nearly two years he has gathered information from various recreation centers throughout western Washington to put together a comprehensive proposal for a new recreation center to be built at the SK Community Park.I didn't do this for me, Jeu said. I'm not getting paid for this. I really felt so strongly about this for South Kitsap. Still the voters may not want it, but let's let them decide.Jeu said there will be little money to campaign through the media, but the work of countless volunteers can change the perception some people may have.I think getting out to grass roots level is what it's all about, Jeu said. We don't have the money to do all kinds of media things so we're going to go out there door to door and volunteer our time.Jeu said the important message to get across is that the recreation center is for everyone.I think the idea is to show (the voters) that family is the most important part of this, Jeu said. I keep stressing this is not a sports complex, it is a family center. "

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