WAC wants partnership for new recreation center

Westland Area Commission members discussed an issue often talked about in the area – a community recreation center – at their July 16 meeting.  

Parks and Recreation Chair Jo Ellen Locke stressed that it is important for the city of Columbus and Prairie Township to work together to bring this into being.

“The concern of the city council on the recreation center is where the money is coming from to operate it,” she said.

A rezoning issue is pending in city council on the Blauser property on West Broad Street across from the Kroger store, and WAC Chairman Mike McKay reminded members that building a recreation center is one thing, staffing it and paying for it is another.

“Is Prairie Township going to be willing to pump money into it if it is a city project?” questioned Art McCabe.

“Residents of both the city and the township are going to be using it,” McKay said.

If the township is willing to kick in to help on the operating expenses of the proposed center, then the city should be wiling to get this project moving, Locke explained.

“But the township and the city has to work together,” he added.

McKay said he doesn’t foresee council acting on the rezoning issue before August and that Columbus City Council takes a recess in August.

Shawn Thomas, the health and public safety committee chair, said that an inter-faith committee has been formed on the Westside to help disseminate health information to residents. The forming of the committee is an outgrowth of town hall meetings in the spring after a PBS series concerning health and poverty was shown.

The first meeting of this committee will be July 23 at 7 p.m. at Bible Way Church of Our Lord, 453 S. Wheatland Ave.

Also at the meeting, questions were raised about where WAC meetings would be held, a continuation of a discussion at the June meeting.

Thomas, who works at Doctors Hospital, said he needed requests to use the conference rooms by September to have the room reserved for the monthly meetings through 2009.

McKay said the hospital would remain the primary site for the meetings, but he would look around to see if it would be possible to schedule meetings at such places as the library, the meeting room of the Kroger store on Georgesville Road or at Central Crossing High School, in an attempt to get residents of the Westland area to attend meetings and offer input.

Locke said she had received a letter from a former board member of the Lincoln Village Residents Association seeking a joint partnership among the LVRA, WAC and Westland Area Business Association (WABA) to produce a community-wide Fourth of July program for 2009.

Since the city council doesn’t meet in August, WAC will also be taking a summer break. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Doctors Hospital in the first-floor conference rooms.

McKay said he would try to get someone to speak about the SWCS financial package that will be on the November bond issue.

Meetings are open to the public.

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