By Ethan Putnam, Community News Service
A majority of the 322 Charlotte residents who responded to a recreation committee survey say they would use a community center if built, but there is still a long road ahead before the town can break ground. On April 7, the Charlotte Community Center Committee met again so that the subcommittees could update each other on the progress they had made so far.
The Community Center Committee has four subcommittees: a site subcommittee that is focusing on finding a site for the center, an operations subcommittee that is working on understanding expenses, a program development subcommittee that is working on future programming at the center, and an engagement subcommittee that’s been tasked with sending out surveys, keeping the community updated and fundraising.
Since receiving the results of the survey sent out by the recreation commission in December, the Committee has been working to answer questions posed by the town such as “what would it look like?”, “what would it contain?”, “how much would it cost?”, and “where is it going to go?”
The survey indicated that 55% of the 322 respondents were interested in a community center, and 58% of these said they would use the center weekly.
Survey participants indicated that they wanted an indoor aquatics facility in the new community center, as well as a group fitness space and possibly sport courts. Other suggestions ranged from a hot tub to a “maker space” to a classroom for community events.
The main sources of funding for construction the survey indicated as popular were private donations, grants and corporate sponsorships. The funding streams for operation and maintenance that were popular were also private donations and corporate donations and sponsorships.
One proposed location is the Burns property, a 54 acre town-owned parcel of land situated between Route 7 and Greenbush Road. Other properties have been proposed, such as the former flea market, but the committee has been told by the selectboard that they need a member of the selectboard present when engaging with private landowners. Recreation Director Nicole Conley said she couldn’t disclose any of the presumptive properties at this time.
Prior to the April 7 meeting, the committee planned to unveil three different plans for the community center. One would include everything that people asked for in the survey, one would include some things that people asked for, and one would be a cost-effective approach that only includes the necessities.
During the meeting however, the committee debated whether they should only be looking at two different plans, or if they should have a phased-in approach, where new features are added over time.
The Committee is planning on providing a package that outlines all of the work they have done over the past months to the town at the end of the summer. They will meet again on May 7.
Community News Service works in a partnership with The Charlotte News and other local media outlets to provide opportunities to University of Vermont students.