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Raymore council to consider civic center

Updated: 2014-02-19T01:07:44Z

By BETHANY BAHSIOUM

Special to The Star

The Raymore City Council is expected to decide Monday whether to move forward with a citizen survey and market analysis to determine the feasibility of building a long-discussed recreational civic center.

Mayor Pete Kerckhoff believes residents need a permanent place to meet and gather, as they do in the summer at the farmers market.

“Raymore doesn’t have a Main Street,” Kerckhoff said. “Something like a civic center could become the de facto Main Street of Raymore.”

Some councilmen have argued that residents already have access to other recreational facilities in and around Raymore.

But eight years ago, the city conducted a survey of residents that ranked the lack of an indoor community center as the econd-biggest concern behind street issues.

In time, the Park Board said an outdoor recreational facility should be included, and for the last two years, the council has debated the feasibility of building such a complex.

If the project is to be built without raising taxes, Kerckhoff said, the cost would be capped at $10 million or so.

“There is a general consensus that there is a reluctance on the council to do any raising of taxes,” he said.

The council has dealt with the issue more than once in recent weeks.

On Jan. 13, it rejected a proposal to spend $78,500 for a feasibility study. But at a special meeting Jan. 21 called by Kerckhoff, council members put the question back on the agenda after removing the outdoor athletic complex from the scope of the project.

By removing the outdoor facility and doing only the survey and market analysis, the city can reduce the study costs to $28,750.

By a 6-2 vote Feb. 10, the council endorsed that idea on a first reading.

“I’m hopeful everybody will not change their vote,” Kerckhoff said.

If approved, the citizen survey and market analysis could be completed by the end of May.

The mayor said the current focus is toward an indoor civic center, but he is interested to know what the citizens would support.

“We won’t know until that survey is done,” Kerckhoff said. “There is always a chance the citizens of Raymore will come back and say they want an outdoor center.”

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