Central Point sets sights on new community center

CENTRAL POINT, Ore.– A new community center is being proposed by the City of Central Point after city officials found a way to build it without charging taxpayers.

The project, which has been decades in the making, could break ground as early as next year.

Parks and Public Works Director Matt Samitore says city manager Chris Clayton found a way to fund the project through the general fund. The city plans to pay off all existing debt and general fund obligated bonds of this next biennium and then use the future general funds to cover the cost of the project.

The cost of the community center is currently estimated to be $8 million for a building that will offer space for gymnasiums, senior center, classroom space and areas for multipurpose activities.

However, there’s a caveat. Samitore says in order to maintain the facility an extra $1 to $3 per month would have to be added to the parks and recreation utility fee. That fee is currently set at $1.

“It’s a way for us to offset the cost to basically maintain the parks within the city,” said Samitore.

There are still many X factors that will be figured out later once the plans begin to set in place. The city is in the midst of looking for a local architect to develop figures and scales of the community center. But it’s still planned to bring the proposal to the public to let people know what will happen.

“At this point, we know we can fund a community center,” said Samitore. “It really is, will the community want to support that.”

NBC5 News spoke with several Central Point residents and many gave a thumbs up to the plan.

“If they have the funding, I think they should go for it,” said Janice Bettenburg, owner of Fidelity Print Quick. She says she wishes there had been a community center for her kids when they were growing up in the city. “It would have been great when my kids were growing up if they had one.”

Several residents said they would like to see a pool for the city. According to Samitore, one was drawn up for the initial plans of the community center but was then scrapped for the first phase due to the costs. It doesn’t mean a pool won’t come in the future though.

“If our economy and our growth in our city continues to do well, then we have other revenue streams that might be able to move forward with phasing in the aquatic complex,” he said.

The city is still pulling everything together but hope to start having open houses for the community through the fall and winter and potentially having construction begin in late 2020.

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