The September 19th Osceola City Council meeting will prove to be a pivotal moment for the future of the Osceola Recreation Center. With the commitment of the non-profit Operation Recreation, The Arts and Rec Council, Osceola’s Parks and Recreation department and board, local businesses and volunteers, a 30-year mission for an improved quality of life will be brought to a vote by City Council to move forward on execution of proposed plans and construction for the Rec Center.
This week city officials will meet to finalize the construction and development costs for the Rec Center. This information will be presented to the City Council with a variety of plans for moving forward with construction and development.
Where the original construction proposal for the Rec Center ranged from $8 Million to $10 Million, city officials, Osceola’s Parks and Recreation board, and the architectural team at Hansen and Kitchell worked to streamline the project to $4.7 Million. The changes made from the original proposal center around better utilization of square footage and a focus on future expansion opportunities. Operation costs will be estimated at this week’s meeting and will be based on expected facility usage, membership, utilities, staffing requirements and other variables.
Some of the elements being discussed are options for Parks and Rec programming, reducing the City’s dependency on Clarke Community Schools’ facilities and resources. Also being considered are plans to stretch the actual development of the Rec Center into phases, or to work with the developers on financing options that would make a larger up-front construction phase possible, leaving ancillary pieces like more court spaces or an indoor pool as options for future development.
“If you look across the board, Rec Centers are funded primarily through membership and programming,” said Mayor Kedley when asked about the costs of operation. “While the construction costs will be covered primarily through the Hotel-Motel tax just as was done for the pool, it will be imperative for the community to get involved with Osceola’s future health and wellness to support the facility.”
Based on past surveys and community discussions, Kedley thinks the desire and support is there.
“And by moving city league activities like basketball, volleyball, and more, out of the school they will be able to refocus their facility usage and availability on the needs of the students.” Said Kedley.
Kedley’s focus on fiscal responsibility still remains a priority for the future of the Rec Center. To assure the financial impact of developing this project is as low as possible, additional funding for the construction and development of the Rec Center is still expected to come from the continued fundraising efforts being made through Operation Recreation and others. But many of the corporate donors, as well as some private citizen donors, have said they want to make sure the plan is City Council-approved before commitment.
“Quality of Life improvement efforts brought us the trail updates and the Safe Routes to School program and we’re seeing that being used more and more every day,” said Kedley. “We want to make sure we give Osceola the opportunity to stay active year around.”
The proposal will be made at the September 19th City Council meeting. The mayor is strongly encouraging the citizens of Osceola to come and join in support of the conversation about the future development of Osceola’s Rec Center. This meeting will decide the quality of life, health and wellness for the City of Osceola and its future generations.