Stahly hoping Community Center referendum makes May ballot

Bruce Stahly discusses the reaction at Wednesday¿s council meeting and next steps for the proposed Goshen Community Center.

Posted on Jan. 6, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Despite all the questions raised about the proposed Goshen Community Center at Wednesday’s city council meeting, community center director Bruce Stahly remains optimistic that a question about the center will make it onto the May ballot.

Numerous residents and business owners raised concerns about the proposed center Wednesday, ranging from tax increases to cost to the effect the center would have on local gyms. A full business report concerning the proposal will be released next week, however, that will provide more detail on some of those questions.

“I think (the business report) will clear up some people’s questions and create some for others,” Stahly said in a phone interview Friday.

Stahly said the parade of worries presented at the council meeting came as no surprise. “I anticipated, because of our focus groups, some of the concerns that were there,” Stahly said.

“We were really not trying to make this a political issue,” he stated.

As for the referendum making an appearance on the May ballot, Stahly said he remains hopeful that the question will be there.

“We knew the referendum would be a challenge,” he noted, but he hopes the council and Goshen Community Schools Board will at least vote to allow the question to be voted on by residents.

Until then, Stahly said he will be making presentations for several neighborhood and community groups that have requested more information on the project.

There will not be any further presentations before the city council, however. The council will vote at its next meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 15, whether or not the referendum will make it onto the ballot. The school board will hold a hearing on the issue Jan. 28, where members must vote on a resolution as well as allowing the referendum itself.

Should both the board and council approve the issue to go before residents for a vote, the questions will be written and submitted to the Elkhart County Elections Board and then finalized by the Department of Local Government Finance.

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