Conversation around Paris Legacy Committee community center findings underway

Exterior view of the possible school addition.

Paris is gathering public comment on possible community center improvements for the Paris School and the Paris Town Hall sites presented by the Legacy Committee this week.

The Paris Plan Commission hosted a presentation and open house Monday at Paris School on the committee’s work so far. About 60 people attended, said John Holloway, Plan Commission chairman.

The committee was created in November 2017 by the Town Board, with the charge to ““create something for the future,” in the words of town Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt, who motioned to create the committee.

Serving on the Legacy Committee are: Eric Cheney, Roger Gahart, Gail Gentz, Robert LaBell and Beverly McCumber. Gahart, who also is the Paris School District administrator, is the committee chairman.

The information presented Monday — while it included professional quality drawings, floor plans and a budget — was not meant as a formal plan but more as a way to get the community talking about what any such project should include and if it is even needed at all, Holloway said.

“It was meant to be a way to start a community conversation,” Holloway said.

Much of the presentation was developed by Todd Peyron, a former resident and current landowner in Paris who works for Camosy Construction. Since this sort of work is what he does for a living, he volunteered to develop the material at no cost and lead the presentation at the meeting last Monday.

Leading up to Monday was some non-scientific surveying of the community done at Town Hall and at the school, said Holloway.

One of the most common facility mentioned in the surveying was a place to walk indoors as well as other fitness facilities.

The material presented Monday showed a two-story addition to the school building with a large gymnasium on the first floor and a walking track encircling the space on a second floor. The addition also included space designated for fitness equipment, rest rooms and locker rooms, multi purpose rooms and more.

Another slide shows a layout for the Town Hall site that included athletic fields, a play lot and additional parking.

A cost analysis in the presentation showed a total outlay of $9.375 million for everything shown in the material. Holloway said Peyron characterized this as a conservative figure that strove to take into account likely maximum costs that might actually be lower when bid out.

The slide presentation from Monday can be viewed here. 

The town website also includes additional information on the work of the committee here

Holloway said the town is currently gathering public opinion about what the committee presented. Residents can submit comments to parislegacycommittee@gmail.com. About half of the people present at the meeting submitted comments.

Holloway said that initially the material presented at the meeting was misinterpreted as a “done deal” and there was some tension. But when it was made clear that the presentation was a effort to start a conversation around what the community would support, the atmosphere improved.

The chief concern came from people who felt the town should protect its large reserves — largely acquired as a result of payments from the Waste Management landfill in the town — rather than fund such a project, Holloway said. Due to the size of the reserve, the town does not levy a property tax to support town operations and pays 75 percent of the county tax for Paris landowners.

“They want further discussion,” Holloway said.

Holloway said he plans to post all comments received about the project at the Paris Legacy Committee page at the town’s website.

Paris School site overlay

Overlay for town hall site.

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