The Community Leadership Development Committee, charged with determining the feasibility of building a community center, probably with a swimming pool, under the aegis of a contract between the Western Elmore County Recreation District and the Treasure Valley YMCA, has done an outstanding job.
The CLDC has accomplished more in the last year than the WECRD had done in the previous eight years. The WECRD had an idea -- and a good one -- but never really a true plan. The CLDC's work has created a detailed analysis based on a solid plan. Every member of the committee deserves high praise.
It was not a rubber-stamp group involving a select few. It was a broad-spectrum group representing diverse segments of the community. Some of its members had even been selected because they were opponents of the rec district's operations. It could have easily devolved into a no-compromises logjam (at lot like Congress). But instead, every person on the committee gave the proposals a fair shot and have worked to see what was feasible.
The revenue study and survey, released in August, was one of the best we've ever seen done in this area. That narrowed the options down and the CLDC then started building a "business model" for how each surviving option would work.
One assumption of the CLDC, and a good one, was that they wanted the final project to be ultimately self-sustaining, even if it might need a couple years of tax-dollar subsidy to get it on its feet.
Throughout the process, the CLDC has been very conservative in developing its revenue and expenses projections. They have erred on the side of caution and that means, if this thing ever gets built, there probably won't be too many unpleasant surprises.
But the final conclusion is that the rec district simply can't afford to build, at this time, a facility with a pool, using just its own resources. Outright gifts, donations or grants totalling at least $3 million (and possibly as much as $4.5 million) will have to be raised. The rec district can't borrow the money and make it work, and a bond just won't fly in the current economy.
So the project now falls on this community to take ownership of this project. Can we raise $3 million?
That's a tall task, although one worth trying. But if we can't, this project could be delayed years -- and the rec district itself might not survive that long.