The construction for a new, 66,000-square-foot community center was a topic of discussion at the Merriam City Council meeting Aug. 28. In late August, the city of Merriam mailed residents a mail-in ballot to vote on whether to renovate the existing Irene B. French Community Center at 5701 Merriam Drive for $20 million or to build a new one.
The new site would be at Vavra Park, at 6040 Slater St. and would cost the city $30 million. To fund the new center, the city would issue 10-year bonds of up to $24 million. To pay for the bonds, Merriam residents would pay a quarter-cent sales tax over 10 years.
The majority of voters would need to vote “yes” for the new facility to pass. In addition to an indoor and outdoor pool, the community center would feature a fitness center, an indoor walking track and free Wi-Fi.
Voters must return ballots to the Johnson County Election Office by noon on Sept. 15.
Merriam City Council members on Aug. 28 also approved a preliminary plan to expand the Shawnee Mission Hyundai car dealership at 7050 W. Frontage Road.
The plan includes combining the existing dealership with the undeveloped lot that sits just north of it at 7020 W. Frontage Road. Group 1 Automotive, based out of Houston, will oversee the expansion plans that include the construction of a 115,000-square-foot parking lot on the undeveloped lot that would provide 329 additional parking spaces.
Community Development Director Bryan Dyer said the new parking lot would help accommodate large delivery trucks and divert vehicle drop offs from West Frontage Road to the new space.
Greg Murphy, special projects manager at Group 1 Automotive, said sales are expected to increase with the new parking lot due to increased visibility and inventory.
Construction of the parking lot is expected to begin next year.