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Have we pursued use of the Imaculate Conception gym space?

To The Daily Sun,

Moultonborough has voted against a community center that included a gym before. So the selectmen got UNH to do a study to get underneath what the population wanted — surveys, interviews, etc. The UNH study showed that the majority did not want a community center. UNH suggested a vote at the Town Meeting to put the issue to bed once and for all. People voted a new community center down. So why are we really here again?

Let's look at the UNH feasibility study:

Recommendation #1: Extend partnerships between town and MSD school facility use for after school and in the summer.

Note the Central School provides space for half-day summer camp programs on inclement weather days in the summer. The school makes this available for six weeks. When it's not raining, they have the Playground Drive area.

My question: What do we charge for these summer programs? This is normally a program funded by the parents who send their children. Are we losing/making/breaking even here? It has been stated by some of the selectmen that parents are asking for full-day camps. Do we want the town to subsidize this? In other towns, private companies, or YMCAs run these camps at a profit; they cost $100 per week per child. Do you see our parents paying that?

Recommendation #2: As an answer to finding indoor gym space, the report suggested looking into Immaculate Conception School in Center Harbor. They have a full sized stand-alone gym and soccer field. They plan on keeping the property and would give the recreation department full access to the facility on a full time basis.

My question: Has anyone pursued this avenue as a solution to gym space? If not, why not? If so, why couldn't we get a lease agreement with them?

Recommendation #4: Explore options for development and renovation of Lions' Club building.

The town says this renovation is beyond the scope of the committee? The lease is up in 2017 to the Lions' Club; the town could price a renovation/expansion to meet the needs for additional meeting rooms. This, along with using Immaculate Conception gym would solve the problem and save the town more than $6 million.

In Recommendation #5, although UNH recommended a new facility it was noted that the majority position heard during the UNH process was against building a new facility. Isn't this why we did this study to find out what the majority of our townspeople wanted?

My question: Didn't you get your answer already? It is vastly unfair to bring this to a vote without more answers to:

1. What is the actual usage of the gym space? Anyone can schedule hours, but if they are not using them, then the measurement is not legitimate. We do not have actual usage numbers behind the utilization statistics.

2. If we managed with what we have when we had 700-800 children in the school system, then why can't we manage now with 515?

3. Why aren't we seriously pursuing the Lions' Club for meeting rooms? We don't need a whole new community center for that.

4. Why can't we renovate the inside of the recreation department building to provide better offices and storage instead of building a community center for that?

5. Why are we considering a huge facility that will ultimately become an after-care facility for the working parents in town? The town will be paying for it, because I was told many of our parents cannot.

6. If we do want to pursue after school sports programs for little children, then why aren't we looking at using Immaculate Conception gym and soccer fields as part of the overall program?

Barbara Koehler

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Dave Nix (2-24) 482 GALE SCHOOL

To The Daily Sun,

Here we go again. The people and politicians in my town of Belmont love spending money, like a teenager receiving a first paycheck from a first job, except the money is not theirs.

In 2009, all of 277 out of roughly 4,000 registered voters turned out to vote down the purchase of the old Northway Bank Building (154 Main Street) by just nine votes. The politicians in the town didn't except this and in August of 2012 held an "special" deliberative session and vote to sneak through the back door and get a vote to purchase the property. Again, only 320 out of roughly 4,000 registered voters showed up and this time the town got a whopping eight vote advantage for the purchase of a building they had no plans for. In fact to do anything with the building at all they would have to raise taxes on the town citizens.

Now we are facing a similar vote regarding the OLD Gale School building. The articles that we are being asked to vote on are requested by an extremely small group of people who find some kind of sentimental attachment to an old building. In order to save their precious building they are asking us to raise our taxes at a time when economic circumstances dictates that everyone should be tightening their belts. Yet the question of the need for the building in any capacity never arises. If there is a need wouldn't a new building be more economic in the long run? Maybe the answer to that question can be found in studying the current debacle of the old Belmont Mill building.
Now we are being presented with three warrant articles for "choices" of what to do with the school, as if these are the only three things you can choose. Any one of these warrant articles, if voted in, will result in an increase in taxes at some point. Belmont already has a tax rate that puts us number 42 out of 258 listed towns, yet our mean income puts us at 120 down the list of towns. This is already a gross mismatch of tax rate to mean household income, and these people are asking us for more? I would say that this is a textbook example of economic irresponsibility. The fact they are not telling you is that you have another choice at this time ... that is to do nothing by voting all of the articles down. Then maybe time can be taken to search out other actions for the building that would not require further increase of an already outrageous tax rate. Something like selling the building to a contractor who wants to use the aged wood in new construction, or to the people who want to preserve it (and have them use their own funding, not the towns). I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities that can be found.
Dave Nix, Belmont

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