Plans for Rutland Rec facility moving forward

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(Host) Four towns in Rutland County had been working together to create a multi-district, indoor recreation facility.

But concern about the $23 million price tag prompted residents in West Rutland and Rutland Town to opt out last March.

Many thought the project was finished. But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, proponents in Mendon and Rutland City have been busy moving forward.

(Keck) Ejay Bishop is superintendent of the Rutland City Recreation and Parks Department. He says after Town Meeting Day, proponents of the indoor recreation facility went back to the drawing board to rethink the project.

(Bishop) "One of the things we realized was that as a district of two towns – Mendon and Rutland City – and our project was a project in Rutland Town. And one of the things we heard in the debates – for the aldermen and the mayor’s race in the city of Rutland – is that there seems to be support for the project. But there seemed to be concern, even from day one, that the project wouldn’t be in the city."

(Keck) Bishop says organizers decided that Georgetti Park would provide an ideal location.

Besides having an enclosed ice rink and athletic fields, Georgetti is adjacent to another city park, which includes 275 acres of outdoor hiking and mountain biking trails.

Bishop says a Colorado architecture firm has come up with a preliminary design for a 60,000-square-foot facility.

It will include: an indoor leisure pool, community center, gymnasium and fitness space, meeting rooms, dance areas and smaller party rooms.

Compared to the initial $23 million price tag, Bishop says this plan will cost closer to $16 million.

He says it was important to scale back the project, yet still keep enough amenities and services to ensure the facility remains viable.

Bishop says the public is invited to see preliminary plans for the project and discuss financing issues tonight at 7 at the Dana Recreation Center in Rutland.

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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