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New option for Indian Hills complex

by Christy Chalmers

Just when plans for a combined community center and administrative complex in Indian Hills seemed settled, a new option has surfaced.

“We’re on hold as far as going forward until it gets cleared,” said general improvement district manager Jim Bentley. “All is on hold until the residents respond.”

Residents indicated strong support for a building at James Lee Park that could house a multipurpose room, kitchen, meeting rooms and district office space when they were polled in 1999.

Since then, preliminary plans for a 10,429-square-foot building incorporating those elements have been drawn. The project has an estimated cost of $1.48 million, and the general improvement district’s leaders have been considering funding options and seeking Community Development Block Grants to offset the cost.

That changed when the Sunridge Corp. asked district leaders if they would be interested in locating the district offices at a complex to be built on the southeast corner of Highway 395 and Mica Drive.

The five-member general improvement district board split on the idea and decided to ask residents what they think.

As of Monday, Bentley said he had received about 100 of 1,100 survey forms mailed to the residents.

Bentley said the matter boils down to operation of the community center. Office space is expected cost about $385,000 in either location, but a Sunridge site would be central and possibly more efficient for district staffers, who would focus solely on district business.

Conversely, a combined facility could mean lower community center staffing costs because district personnel could assist, and planned additions to James Lee Park might increase the district office’s business. The park site would also mean the loss of only one property from district tax rolls instead of two.

Bentley said he hasn’t compiled the responses received, but did scan the first 50.

“It appears that the majority, 60 to 70 percent of those, are in favor of an office and complex as has been developed,” he said. “I think most are saying ‘do it like we told you to.'”

A special hearing is scheduled Feb. 23 to gather more comments. Benefits and drawbacks to the options are outlined in a newsletter that was mailed to district residents. The mail surveys are due back Feb. 18.

For more information, call the district office 267-2805.