Posted at: 09/24/2013 5:49 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Rec Center Becomes Austin's Vision
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- When the city of Austin launched its Vision 2020 project, organizers asked the community what it would like to see to make Austin a better place. And one answer consistently ranked near the top.
“From over 4,000 ideas that were submitted, it ended up in the top ten," said Hormel Foundation President Gary Ray.
“We do need more space for children and adults and everyone in the community to recreate," Matt Cano added.
And on Tuesday, we learned the results of a feasibility study into development of a community rec center in Austin.
A key to developing a new center is partnering with organizations that are already here.
"If we share costs and we can share some of the operational things, it's just going to make more sense for us to build it together," said Matt Cano, who’s chairing the Vision 2020 rec center committee.
The group has already identified four key community partners – schools, Riverland Community College, the YMCA and the city of Austin.
Once the rec center group and its partners have determined what should go into the center, they’ll start looking at location.
“Based on what our needs are and how much space is available for us to build it," committee chair Matt Cano told us.
Then, they’ll start researching cost, and where the money would come from.
“We need to see some kind of a pro-forma of how it's going to operate once it's built," said the Hormel Foundation’s Gary Ray. The Foundation will likely be asked to contribute to the cost of the center.
“We want to make sure we have a sustainable business plan put together that makes sense" added committee chair Matt Cano.
“If we can help people become healthier or exercise more, it really fits what the foundation is trying to do for the betterment of the community," Gary Ray told us.
“I see that we have pretty significant negative family norms and social norms in the community that are very damaging to youth and for that matter, adults too," Steven King explained. King sees the rec center from three different perspectives: he’s a parent, a member of the Austin City Council and a corrections officer.
“And if we had more pro-social activities, that would be all inclusive to the community, I think it's only going to be a bonus," King said.
And while some of the big questions still need answers, the organizing committee has its sights set on a possible date for starting the actual brick-and-mortar work.
"Between 2015 and 2016 would be a good time frame for us," committee chair Matt Cano said.