A lesson in where we have been and where we are going.
WECRD 1997 In response to the request of concerned citizens, Mayor Don Etter, formed the Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC), representing a broad cross section of the community (business owners, educators, parents and involved community leaders). The focus of the BRC was to determine the interest of the greater Mountain Home community in expanded recreational and cultural opportunities.
2000 Blue Ribbon Committee In January 2000, the “BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE” recommended to the city that the question of forming a recreation district be placed before the people. With the support of city council and newly elected Mayor Dave Jett, the question of forming a new taxing district, the Western Elmore County Recreation District, was placed before the voters.
November 7, 2000 DECISION An overwhelming 60% of the voters voted ‘YES’, forming the WECRD. The WECRD became an official taxing district in January 2001. As provided for by Idaho law, upon establishment of the district, the first three directors to serve the people (Larry Heinen, Doug Belt, Mollie Marsh) were appointed by Governor Kempthorne.
WECRD Shared Goals with Local Governments and School District Respond positively to clearly expressed community needs. Invest in the quality of life. Provide a deterrent to delinquency and crime. Create an economic boost through dollars spent locally.
2001 Understanding that the WECRD was given a mandate from the people to construct a multi- purpose, year-round, family recreation & community activity facility, the directors moved forward with the concept. A project of this magnitude requires careful preparation, thoughtful decision-making, and excellence in coordination of a multi-faceted project.
2002 WECRD conducted a capital campaign feasibility study to examine the achievability of completing a successful capital campaign to finance the BRC facility. The proposed facility would have been approximately 80,000 square feet at a cost of approximately $10M. The WECRD interviewed three firms and selected Shaw Snow and Associates,a firm respected and experienced in YMCA capitol campaigning. The Shaw Snow and Associates with the help of a local leadership committee evaluated the design, alternative energy, construction and operation costs.
2004 KROC Disappointment Applied for KROC Foundation Funds made available nationally through Salvation Army regional oversight. The WECRD competed against six other Idaho communities: Meridian, Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene for a Joan Kroc Community Center. Despite presenting the most practicable and complete proposal and meeting all guidelines established by the Salvation Army, the WECRD was passed over in favor of Coeur d’Alene. Second place in the competition did not provide any monetary benefit to the WECRD.
**2004 Great News** Purchase began for 20 acres for the WECRD Recreation Center. Several parcels were evaluated based on a matrix designed by the Directors to ensure the parcel best suited to the purpose was selected. The land owned by the WECRD is within walking distance of over 2000 elementary – high school students, is easily accessible from American Legion, a main traffic artery and visible from I- 84. Is large enough to accommodate partnerships with like-minded agencies.
2007 WECRD changed from a $34.50 annual per-household fee tax assessment (in effect at the same rate from 2001-2007) to a general tax levy assessment. The FY 2008 WECRD Budget submitted to Elmore County in September 2007 (to be received 2008) was determined at.0006% of the net assessed value of property. The FY 2009 Budget submitted to Elmore County in September 2008 (to be received 2009) was determined at.0006% of the net assessed value of property.
Long Term Plan The WECRD board sought funding for the WECRD Recreation Center with a step-by-step approach to secure construction funds and provide for sustainability of the facility. Tax dollars were saved from revenue generated.
Rationale for change: Real estate values had increased significantly since 2001. Philanthropic donations had not been forthcoming from the community. All property owners ( including out of state) would pay their share with the general tax levy..0006 % general tax levy was more equitable and provided tax relief to owners of small homes. General tax levy would bring in revenues more in line with the growth of the community. Tax revenues would provide increased funds for construction/operation of the WECRD Recreation Center.
2005-2010 $$HUD$$ WECRD has applied for Federal Appropriations (FA) through the Idaho Congressional delegation. FA application for FY 2006 not funded, but WECRD was encouraged to reapply. FA application for FY 2007 not funded, but WECRD encouraged to reapply. FA application for FY 2008 is funded in the amount of $294,000. FA application for FY 2009 is funded in the amount of $285,000. FA application for FY 2010 is pending.
2008 WECRD examined the viability of constructing a 20,000 square foot “Stage 1” WECRD Recreation Center with the revenue on hand (LGIP, Federal Appropriations and 2009 tax revenues) so that the facility would be built debt-free. WECRD Recreation Center components being considered were aquatics (warm water therapy and cool water exercise pools), open space for programming for all ages and a few small areas for office, flex rooms, etc.
2008 Olson Architects prepared preliminary design and costs. Green Play, a recreational analysis firm, provided a draft of operating expenses and revenue generation. WECRD compiled information for WECRD Recreation Center business plan. Local business and community leaders met with WECRD to review plan. Public concerns over sustainability and proposed components lead the WECRD Board to approach the YMCA to consider building a YMCA in Mountain Home.
2008 Director Marsh was challenged for her seat on the Board. Her challenger’s platform: objection to the tax change and inclusion of aquatics in the proposed Stage 1. Director Marsh’s platform: build WECRD Recreation Center (warm water therapy and cool water exercise pools), open space for programming for all ages) debt-free with funds available. Over 3000 persons voted in the board member election. Director Marsh won by 13%.
Jumping Through HUD Hoops 2008-10 The WECRD is completing several HUD mandates prior to release of funds: Environmental assessment through the assistance of Bionomics Environmental Inc. Surveying through the assistance of Waite Land Surveying. Establishing “responsible entity” through HUD ‘s Regional Office in Seattle.
2009 Goals Securing YMCA for consultation Development of the CLDC Sub-committees for: programs communication finance / sustainability
“We do not cease playing because we are old; we grow old because we cease playing.” IT’S FUN TO STAY AT THE YMCA, IT’S FUN TO STAY AT THE YMCA …
“HI MOM “ ……… “YOU’LL FIND IT AT THE …….. Y.M.C.A.”
Theodore Roosevelt said “ This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
2010 Goals Successful outcome of community partnership with WECRD/ YMCA decision. Complete HUD environmental assessment approval for awarded HUD funds. ($579,000.00) Continued growth of funds through local investment opportunities.
We are well aware.. There is a vast difference between standard of living and quality of life…..
“THE FUTURE IS PURCHASED BY THE PRESENT” Samuel Johnson
WECRD/ YMCA “ It will take a community to make it happen.’’