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Footings established for West Lincoln rec complex

A construction start may be years away, but West Lincoln has established some footing on which to build toward a goal of a new recreation complex.

At its Public Works/Recreation Committee meeting Monday night, a framework for budget, fundraising structure and reserves to be created were all part of the discussion.

Coun. Terry Bell said the current council has a lot with which to deal, citing putting money into the current arena will be assessed so its life can be extended to match up with when funds have been put in place to cover the cost of any new project.

“We understand it could be in the $1.2-$1.5 million range to get the old arena in good standing, but we are getting accurate numbers on that first,” said Bell, noting that a major issue there was the unwillingness of previous councils to invest anything in the Smithville Arena.

“There has been nothing done there in years.”

Monday night a projected budget of $14 million was set and a target of $3.6 million was set for local fundraising.

“It could be five years, it could be two years, but we will put a shovel in the ground when we reach that $3.6 million goal,” said Bell, noting council talked about a $200,000 annual reserve to be set aside for five years to come up with another $1 million.

He noted $200,000 represents a four per cent tax increase, adding, while council has not discussed it, residents have suggested a short-term (10-year) tax increase as a way to generate that reserve money.

“This needs to happen and we all want it for different reasons, but we have to fiscally responsible,” said Bell. He noted a fundraising coach will be hired to steer that process.

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