Will Harrison be getting a new recreation center?
Mayor Jerry Jackson didn't say, but he announced, at committee meetings last Thursday, there will be a special meeting on the subject at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 18, at City Hall.
Then, the next regular council meeting, set for 6 p.m., Thursday, July 25, will be held at the Durand Center to better accommodate public participation.
The issue had been a matter for discussion on social media in June. In late June, the following message appeared on the city’s Facebook page:
“In light of recent claims and comments made on social media about the city building a new pool, we’d like to take the opportunity to clear the air.
“About 18 months ago, a small group began looking at options to bring “quality of life improvements” to our community. The list of improvements that was originally put together was long…too long (and far too expensive to even consider). As the idea of a project developed, three main priorities stood out above other options: (1) a community center, (2) walking trails, and (3) an indoor aquatic facility with a therapy pool.
“The idea of a true multi-purpose community center in our town has been discussed and encouraged by numerous groups and individuals for years. There have even been some attempts over the years by both public and private entities to bring something like this to Harrison. Unfortunately, these attempts have not been successful yet. We are now trying to develop a plan and a project that we can present to the city council and the public to finally get it done.
“An indoor aquatic facility and therapy pool are major needs in our community (especially for our aging population). We would love to see a private entity develop an affordable facility that could be used by the entire community. An aquatic facility was included as part of the community center concept months ago because, at the time, there appeared to be no real movement in the private sector to fill this need. On April 18th of this year, the city met with a private individual who wanted to build a privately-owned and operated indoor pool. We were told then that the developer would begin construction within 90 days. At that time, the city agreed if the private facility was going to become a reality, we would plan to drop aquatics from the community center proposal. Mayor Jackson agreed that the city would not publicly announce any plans until after 90 days to allow the developer time to move forward. While we want to be as transparent as possible, it has been and continues to be our intent to honor that commitment as much as we can.
“While a plan is not fully ready to present to the public, please know that this is so much more than just a pool. This is a project for the whole community (all ages) to improve our quality of life and drive economic development including a true community center, multi-purpose trails, parks improvements, etc. Something like this is long overdue in our community but we are asking for just a little more patience.”
That rec center proposal will be the discussion of this Thursday night’s meeting at City Hall.
Jackson told the Daily Times that meeting will be a special council meeting, but he hopes to bring a much larger crowd to the July 25 meeting at the Durand Center so all interested parties can be heard.