A proposed project to build a brand new community center has the Town of Southport community taking sides. Tamara Lindstrom tells us about the proposed facility and why some people don't want to see it built.
SOUTHPORT, N.Y. -- A proposal for a new community recreation center for the Town of Southport has some residents cheering.
"It's going to have meeting rooms and spaces, community rooms where it's not just going to be used for recreation. Senior groups, youth groups can utilize this facility for their activities," said Scott Arnold, Southport Recreation President.
While others are calling foul.
"It's not necessary. It comes at a very bad time. It's too expensive and it's not appropriate," said Southport resident Steve Hoover.
Hoover and Town Board member Etta Kay Dewey held a press conference Friday, urging people to vote no on next week's referendum.
"I don't believe that the true facts and figures have been released. I did a very extensive paper proving that this is not a viable project," said Dewey.
The 27,000 square foot project will be built in Chapel Park and cost about $3.5 million. Opponents say taxes will go up, a claim planners say is unfounded.
"We have done a projection on the cost to maintain it utility wise. We feel that it is between $170,000 and $200,000 a year. And we feel that we can cover that with the regular budget," said Feasibility Committee Co-Chair Jerry O’Dell.
"The town does have money reserved. So there will be no debt incurred by this. Actually, the Town of Southport has reduced property taxes for the last seven years," said Arnold.
Hoover wants to see the money go toward schools instead.
"They have facilities that we need. We have money that they need. It's a win, win situation," Hoover said.
Hoover listed 18 gyms in the area that he says the program should be using, but the recreation coordinators say they're already using the school gyms and it's still not enough.
"With 33 teams, when you have two games a week, that's a lot of hours. There's not enough hours at one or two schools. Currently, we utilize 14 gymnasiums in the area," Arnold said.
But whether it's sports for children or senior recreation, the decision to build or not build comes down to voters next week.
People can vote at the town hall on Monday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.