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Input sought for community center

by Merrie Leininger

Picture the ideal community center. Next, take your ideas to a public meeting and let them be known.

The Douglas County Senior services Advisory Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission are jointly studying the issue of a county multi-generation community center and will be holding two meetings in January to hear what the community wants.

There are very few plans right now, so everyone’s ideas will be considered, parks and recreation Director Scott Morgan said.

The group wants to make it clear that the center will hold separate facilities for seniors, teens and toddlers, plus a common area.

So, what size you think it should be, what kind of handicapped access is necessary, and whether it should have a pinball machine – and in what area of the center the machine should be – is up to the public. You are encouraged to make your way down to the current senior center Jan. 18 and 27 at 6 p.m. to make your voice heard.

After public comment, the senior commission and the parks and recreation board plan on forming focus groups on such issues as how the facility would be operated, criteria that would be used to find a location, and what the financial requirements and alternatives to construction and operation are.

By August 2000, the groups plan to have the work done and prepared in a form available for the community and the county commission to review. The target date for presentation to the county commission is November 2000.

The board will determine if the question needs to be put on a ballot and take it from there, Morgan said at a Thursday afternoon joint meeting at the senior center.

“When people don’t have the facts, they tend to vote no, so we need to get this out to the public,” he said. “There is close to a year’s worth of work here, if we do it right. We need to generate a document that shows why the community needs this.”

Senior services board chairman Al Walker said the public also will have an opportunity to see why the center is needed when they come to the senior center for the public meetings.

For more information about the public comment meetings or how to join a focus group, call the recreation department at 782-9828 or the senior center at 782-3075. The senior center is located at 2300 Meadow Lane, Gardnerville.