Community center plan comes to a halt, for now
Plans to break ground this spring on the first phase of Truckees new community center have been put on hold for at least another year. It would be premature, said Peter Werbel, chairman of the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park Districts board of directors. We have just received the preliminary drawings, and we still have not gotten back information from our consultant in regards to the performing arts center, he said. Now that we have drawings of our dream in hand, we want to present them to the community and get further feedback.The district originally wanted to get the ball rolling this month or next because the communitys need for a new gymnasium is so great, said Marshall Lewis, vice chairman of the board. The first phase would include a two-court gym, suspended running track and locker rooms. The following phases would include an aquatic center and performing arts center.However, building costs have taken such a dramatic jump in the past year that the district is now having to rethink its original plans, he said.Its just like when you build a house. You put all your dreams on paper, and then the architect draws it up and you see that its twice the cost you expected, Lewis said. Last year we were looking at $400 a square foot, now were looking at something closer to $500 or $600 a square foot.The district currently has only $10 million to spend on the multi-phase community center project, which was originally projected to cost $40 million, according to General Manager Steve Randall.Now the project could be as much as $60 million. The remainder of the cost might be raised through a bond measure the district would like to see on a ballot within the next year.If the community says that they have other desires and priorities, then we are open to that, said Lewis. We are not totally committed to the plan that we set out with four months ago. But people need to keep their ears and eyes open for meetings, and come let the board know what their preference is.The board is also hearing the communitys call for a new performing arts center loud and clear. While Lewis said the district might be willing to build such a venue, the board would much rather see it constructed in a more convenient location, perhaps downtown, based on community feedback.The location of the community center is set for a plot of land located between Donner Pass Road, Interstate 80, and Highway 89 north that was given to the district by East West Partners.As we get more information, we need to go back to the public. I think this is a healthy process, though it is frustrating, Lewis said.
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