, 2022-11-16 05:43:10,
After voters failed to approve funding a new wellness center in Boone, the City Council has decided to try again in the spring.
The Boone City Council held a public meeting with the Park Commission on Monday to hear input on revamping plans for a public facility to be located at McHose Park, 1215 Francis Mason Drive. Voters will be asked whether to bond up to $10 million for the project on March 7, 2023.
“I want the public to be informed all along the process before we get anywhere near to putting this out for a vote,” Boone City Council member Linda Williamson said about calling Monday’s meeting. “And we need to get the Park Commission’s opinion about setting a wellness center somewhere in McHose Park.”
In March, Boone voters shot down a referendum to bond up to $10 million for a wellness center. Fifty-four percent voted no.
The failed proposal included a pool, an elevated track and a gymnasium for pickleball, volleyball and basketball. Since the 2019 closure of the Boone YMCA, proponents of the project said the town is in need of these amenities.
The plan originally called for a 3% increase to electric bills but that was reduced to 2% after Fareway pledged $2 million to the project, the largest donation in the company’s history. That electric bill charge, called a franchise fee, was likely one reason voters didn’t approve the issue in March, Boone City Manager William Skare said.
Skare said a franchise fee is no longer being considered.
McHose Park, located in southwestern Boone, is the city’s largest with approximately 200 acres. The park has several shelters, three ball fields, six tennis courts, a sand volleyball and basketball court, six playgrounds, a nature trail, equestrian area, fishing pond, bike trail and disc golf course. The public pool also is at McHose Park.
The meeting Monday included the nine members of the City Council, another handful of staff, four members of the Park Commission and nearly 20 members of the public.
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Among the many differing opinions on where a recreation facility should go, how much it should cost and what amenities it should include, there was nearly unanimous agreement that Boone-area residents would use a community wellness facility.
However, one person at the meeting, who didn’t give her name, questioned whether Boone residents would use a local facility. She said people would continue traveling to Ames to access recreation…
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