GOSHEN — Members of the Goshen Community Center hosted the first public input session on the site location Tuesday evening, Feb. 12.
More than 40 members of the community gathered in the Goshen High School cafeteria to discuss the criteria for how the location of the proposed center will be chosen.
Originally, the Community Center committee had selected the old Street Department site west of the Millrace Canal, due in part to its proximity to the downtown area and the entities the center would partner with, including the schools and IU Health Goshen Hospital.
The site offered enough space to accommodate the roughly 85,000-square-foot facility and 61,200-square-foot parking lot.
Goshen Community Center Inc. decided to revisit the site selection process, however, after concerns over the cost of developing the site were raised during January discussions about whether or not to allow referendums on the center to be voted on in a special election in May.
In an analysis of the center’s costs, estimations put the cost of developing the Street Department site at $2,000,000, with an additional $200,000 for an access bridge that would need to be built to grant better access.
With the election now delayed until November, the committee believed it had enough time to investigate ways to lessen the cost of the project as a whole, including whether or not another location might be a better and cheaper alternative to the Street Department site.
Tuesday night’s session included a rundown of the sites already being considered by Goshen Community Center Inc.
Committee member Wayne Kramer listed the 10 sites considered as possibilities, including the proposed Street Department site, while an 11th was brought to the committee’s attention by a citizen at the meeting.
The possible alternatives to the proposed site are: a site near Hackett Road at the north end of town, the old Quality Drive Away site between First and Third streets, a Plymouth Avenue site across from Goshen Middle School, the old Western Rubber site between Douglas Street and Plymouth, a site near Dierdorff Road, one near Greencroft, the Goshen Inn site, Fidler Pond and the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.
One additional site suggested by a resident at the meeting was at the corner of Plymouth and Indiana avenues.
Those gathered were presented with a list of five broad criteria and were instructed to select the sub-criteria under each section they felt most important to the selection of a site for the Community Center. The general criteria included access, visibility, development impacts, community impacts and site characteristics.
At the end of the meeting, residents’ sheets were collected and totals will be tabulated to help a subcommittee finalize the criteria for site selection.
Project director Bruce Stahly said the subcommittee will be comprised of seven or eight community members who will meet March 12 to finalize the criteria. The subcommittee will also plan for another public session to narrow the search to the two or three best options.
That final meeting on the center’s location will be held at 7 p.m. March 26 at Goshen High School.
For more information on the proposed Community Center visit www.goshencommunitycenter.com.