To The Daily Sun,
How did we get from a $17,500 site study to a $6.5 million Community Center complex?
As Moultonborough voters are faced with Article 2 at Saturday's Town Meeting, some of us are asking, how did we get from a $17,500 site study for a potential recreation building to a $6.5 million bond for a 20,000-square-foot all-purpose community center complex?
At 2014 Town Meeting, a small number of residents present voted to carry out the site study, to follow up on the Blue Ribbon Commission's now outdated recommendation to "pursue development of a facility that includes an indoor gymnasium, Recreation Department office, program and storage space that would be on existing school land or property adjacent to school facilities." The vote on Article 13 was 171 yes and 68 no, carried by 103 votes.
So when did this site study for a potential recreation building morph into a huge community center?
Looking beyond the slick presentations we've had pushed on us since early January to justify the community center, it's important to understand that the Selectboard made the decision to expand the scope of the project at a work session on Sept. 3, 2015.
At that September work session, which did not allow any public input, the Selectboard agreed to pursue a new community center building that would incorporate all the functions now at the Lions Club. This was contrary to earlier meetings during the summer where a modest recreation facility was discussed. Now that we know that gym usage numbers have been misrepresented, was this a deliberate move to disguise facts and market an unneeded recreation gym as a multi-use community center? Was this expansion of scope appropriate?
Did the Selectboard hijack Article 13 (site study for a recreation gym facility) with their decision to pursue a community center complex? We're being told to approve a $6.5 million bond and trust the Selectboard to work out the details later.
I urge voters to come to Town Meeting on Saturday, March 12, 9:30 a.m., Moultonborough Academy auditorium and vote "no" on Article 2.
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