With a squeeze on recreation space getting tighter, Salina City Commissioners were told this week that a new Fieldhouse in downtown would ease the bottleneck.
Mayor Aaron Householter joined in on the KSAL Morning News with a look at a newly proposed multi-use recreation center for Salina.
Householter told listeners on Thursday he believes taxpayers should spend money on projects to grow the economy, and not on a new jail and justice center, “I’m not saying that there isn’t a need maybe the courts are crowded, I have not studied the issue at depth,” he said.
“But I can’t think that spending a bunch of our money locking people up is not the solution – that’s the back side. We need to work on the front side keeping people out of jail and building the kind of things in this community that’s going to make people want to move here and live here.”
Coming up in November, Saline County voters will decide whether or not to approve a $46.5 million dollar jail expansion.
The plan for a new campus that would be home for the jail and courts would also add parking at the former Saline County Juvenile Center.
This past Monday, supporters unveiled plans for a proposed recreation center-type project to Salina City Commissioners. Fieldhouse Salina would house basketball courts, volleyball courts, and indoor turf areas. The proposed $9 million facility, which has the support of the Salina Recreation Commission, would be built in the area of 5th and Iron, the location of the former Phoenix apartments.
Commissioners were told funding for the $9 million fieldhouse would be through a public / private partnership. Supporters have already raised about $2 million, and have pledged to raise another million. They are asking the city to contribute $6 million, to go along with the $3 million in private funds.
City staff is preparing several options for the commission to consider.
Householter tells KSAL News that he would like the project to land on a ballot for the public to vote on.
“It’s not something I feel comfortable enough saying – look I’m going to give you $6 million dollars or whatever,” he said.
“I was thinking maybe a 50/50 split and even at that point I really feel like I need to put it out to the voters.”