Wauconda community center plan may take new shape with community input

  • Wauconda Park District officials will hold a pair of public meetings this winter to get resident input on the failed referendum to fund an expansion of the town's community center and suggestions on what's best moving forward.

      Wauconda Park District officials will hold a pair of public meetings this winter to get resident input on the failed referendum to fund an expansion of the town's community center and suggestions on what's best moving forward. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, July 2014

 
 
Updated 12/10/2014 4:30 PM

Voters rejected a $4.75 million proposal to expand Wauconda's community center last month, but proponents of the plan aren't giving up yet.

Wauconda Park District officials have scheduled a pair of public meetings to get feedback about the failed referendum effort and to gather ideas for a future community-center improvement plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Putting a new plan on the April 2015 ballot is a possibility, parks Director Nancy Burton said.

"We are looking to find a balanced solution that everyone can strongly support," Burton said. "We are exploring all options and avenues available to the district at this time."

The meetings are set for 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 9:30 a.m. Jan. 10 at the community center, 600 N. Main St.

The sessions will allow residents to share feedback on the referendum and make suggestions on moving forward, Burton said.

"We are seeking opinions from both residents who supported the project and those who did not," she said.

The parks board asked voters if they wanted to fund a 10,000-square-foot addition to the building, which is in the town's Cook Park. Proposed highlights would have included an expanded fitness area, group fitness classrooms, an expanded dance room and an early-childhood classroom.

Officials said the extra space is needed because of the 21-year-old center's popularity and the growth of programs through the years.

If voters would have approved the expansion plan, the owner of a house with an average value of $223,500 would have paid an additional $72 in annual property taxes.

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But the proposal fell short by 65 votes -- about 2 percent of the total number of votes cast on the issue.

The upcoming meetings can help officials determine what people want at the community center, park board member Bob Cook said.

"What is it that you're really looking for from us?" Cook said. "This is going to help us understand how to fill that need."

The board will review the comments and ideas shared at the meetings to determine the district's next step.

People who can't attend the meetings can share their opinions by calling Burton at (847) 526-3610 or by emailing nburton@waucondaparks.com.

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