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posted: 10/19/2012 5:00 AM

Endorsement: Yes on West Chicago rec center

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Yes on West Chicago rec center

When voters last spring said no to a West Chicago Park District proposal to build a recreation center, parks officials listened. They heard that residents felt the cost was more than they could handle, and they paid attention to suggestions that the planned downtown location wasn't right. Now the park district is asking voters to support a scaled-back plan seeking permission to borrow $15.5 million -- rather than $19.5 million -- to build a recreation center in Reed-Kepler Park, where on-site infrastructure and park programming already exist. The trimmed-down plan still would house a track, an area for seniors, multipurpose gymnasiums, fitness and dance studios, soccer/lacrosse space and more in its 65,000 square feet. The reduced price tag would mean the owner of a $250,000 house would pay $65 more in taxes annually to repay the loan, a savings of $20 a year over the initial proposal. The facility would meet the district's need for indoor programming space, fill a demand for a fitness center demonstrated by the successful Fitness Station the district built in a downtown hardware store, and centralize the park district's operations in Reed-Kepler. Though finances still may be tight for some homeowners, we see value in the plan, especially at a time when the cost of borrowing is low. We recommend a yes vote.

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