Sedalia Parks and Rec Faces Tough Choice

1 decade 1 year 3 weeks ago January 31, 2006 Jan 31, 2006 Tuesday, January 31 2006 Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:10:55 PM CST in News
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Hold on to history or build for the future? That's the question the parks and rec department must answer.

Later this week, its board will decide what to do with Sedalia's Community Center.

Residents like Gloria Brown don't want to see it go.

"We would be very disappointed if they should decide to tear down this facility."

The community center has been there for almost 100 years.

"If we do want to save the building, if we do, how far are we going to go to improve it?" asked Mark Hewett, director of parks and rec. "We can pour a whole lot of money into here, and still not have a larger facility."

The facility is small compared to other community centers, Hewett admitted. However, with improvements, he said it could continue to house sports and other community activities and events.

Other residents want to restore the building's historic value, including renovations such as replacing its bricked-in windows with glass.

Despite strong feelings about why the building should stay, others say it's time to build for the future.

"The community center has served generations in the past and done quite well in doing that," said resident Robert Hiltenburg. "But, there comes a time when the past should make way for the future, and I think it's time for the building to do that."

That future could include a new rec center or spending $800,000 for more walking trails, security lighting and playground equipment, among other things.

"We want to do what the people want us to do," said Hewett.

But Brown knows what she wants.

"We would like to see it restored, and whatever they would like to do to keep it," she said.

Sedalia's parks and rec board will hold a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

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