After failed referendum, South Burlington still considering a new rec center

Local News

Despite failing to convince voters to approve a tax increase to pay for a new indoor recreation center, South Burlington officials are moving ahead with plans to build the facility.

The city sent out a new request for proposals for construction of the center in June. Several bids have come in, and city staff will make a recommendation when the Recreation & Parks Committee meets August 12.

“Anytime that there’s an opportunity for the public to provide feedback, we’re always welcome to hear it, and hopefully we can move onto the next phase, which is to begin the process of building this,” said parks committee member Lauren Wedam.

Voters rejected a proposed increase of South Burlington’s local option tax in March. Part of the proceeds were earmarked for a 60,00-square-foot indoor recreation center on Dorset Street, next to Cairns Arena.

The concept calls for a two-story building with basketball courts, an indoor track and a turf field for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. New offices for the Recreation & Parks Department, which is housed in City Hall, was part of the plans.

Wedam said she wants “to just try and ensure that everybody, across the lifespan, has an opportunity to get involved in exercise, and one of the biggest issues that we face is the lack of indoor space.”

Holly Rees , South Burlington’s director of Recreation and Parks, said the city has “abundant and rich” open space, but lacks indoor facilities.

“This committee worked pretty extensively to get to a sense of, what do we need for an indoor active recreation space?,” Rees said. “It’s certainly not inclusive of all of our needs, but it’s a phase one of what’s really needed.”

When asked if the latest plan would scale down the original plan, Rees referred us to city project director Ilona Blanchard, who had not had a chance to reply as of late Monday night.

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