ELLINWOOD— Members of the proposed new Ellinwood Recreation Commission were present at the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce meeting on Friday to explain the goals of the group and answer any questions residents might have. Ellinwood voters will be asked on the April ballot to vote for a separate Recreation Commission with a mill levy assessment of up to three mills or against.
“Recreation is considered a quality of life issue,” said Mel Waite, rec commission committee member. “Even if a resident works in Great Bend and lives in Ellinwood, they are looking at lifetime wellness issues.”
Waite explained that a group of interested community residents began meeting in February of 2012 to discuss the future of recreation in Ellinwood.
He said the committee has continued to meet once a month since the first meeting. They looked at what other communities were doing, and compared costs.
A mill levy assessment of three mills would result in raising approximately $111,000. For a home valued at $100,000, that would cost resident $34.50 per year.
Janel Rose, USD 355 resident, asked about if the mill levy had to be that high since Ellinwood schools had the highest mill levy assessment in the county.
Current part-time director of rec, Nancy Baird, explained that the first couple of years of the new rec would be more expensive due to costs of purchasing industrial grade treadmills and other equipment for a fitness room.
The rec would work in conjunction with the school and city to share facilities.
Waite said that they would work with the school to use a room in the school for a fitness room. He explained that school and school activities would come first, but there was room available at the school.
In addition, an office for the full-time recreation director, which is also a goal, could be in the basement of the city offices, saving money for the commission.
Baird said, “I’ve been the (part-tine) recreation director since 2004. I see a need to move forward.”
She would like classes offered for other ages including a toddler and mom class and classes for older residents. “There has been a concentration on keeping the youth busy,” in the past and she would like to see that expanded.
She said expanded recreation offerings would help build a sense of community, connect families and provides a more attractive community to move to.
There will be fees for some recreation classes. Traditionally, “adult classes pay for themselves, and youth is subsidized.”
The commission would be its own governing entity with an appointed board of directors but cannot raise the mill levy above three mills.
“This shows us as a progressive community,” said Baird.