We have heard from a number of residents that the initial location we selected was wrong. During our original search for properties, we investigated every available location – which means properties that were available, for sale or that we knew the owners were open to selling. We also investigated property that the school district owns. The challenge with the school district property is that – because the first use is for the school district – there would be no long-term guarantee that our proposed community facility would be kept.
Late last week (week of June 23), the FYSA was approached by the Meyer family regarding available property. The property totals 38 acres. It is located at the northeast corner of Weiss and Jefferson, south of Heritage Park. When we first considered this opportunity, some of our initial thoughts were:
- It’s very late in the game to make such a substantial change.
- The total acreage available is smaller than what we had originally planned.
- It’s not as close to the neighborhoods and schools.
As we reviewed the property and talked more, we thought:
- It is late in the game to make a change. But if this IS a better location, why wouldn’t we do what’s best?
- The total acreage is smaller; however, the parcel is rectangular in nature rather than odd-shaped like the other parcel, which makes it easier to locate facilities. The proximity of dense residential neighborhoods in the original location meant that we provided a substantial buffer between the complex and the neighborhoods, which reduced the usable acreage. After considering all these factors and more, the two properties’ usable space is about the same.
- There is synergy among the proposed Recreation Center, the adjacent ball diamonds, parking areas, Harvey Kern Pavilion and Heritage Park.
- The property is not as close to neighborhoods – which is both a good and a bad thing. While the property is not as close to schools and not as easily walkable as the location originally selected, it is still connected to the city by sidewalks. There are opportunities to make the area more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.
- The property is currently zoned for commercial use. One of the concerns we heard from residents regarding the former property is that if the proposal passed, it still had to be rezoned and secure approval. This property is zoned commercially and would easily accommodate a use such as a sports/community center.
Given all the information available to us, we decided that it was better to take a risk now with and change the location. We absolutely knew that we could not “bait and switch” locations at a later time.
What do you think? Does this change your viewpoint of this project? Leave us a comment to let us know your viewpoint.