Paris Legacy Committee scaling back community facilities proposals

The next time the community hears from the Paris Legacy Committee expect the group’s proposal for community facilities at both the town hall and Paris School sites.

That was the message delivered by committee Chairman Roger Gahart at last week’s Town Board meeting.

In March, a plan commission meeting held at the school unveiled the committee’s initial proposal. That material 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. A layout for the Town Hall site included athletic fields, a play lot and additional parking.

A cost analysis in the March presentation showed a total outlay of $9.375 million for everything shown in the material.

In last week’s report to the board about the committee’s activities, Gahart shared results of a recent survey taken at Town Hall on April 3, Election Day.

Information about the proposal first presented in March was set up in the area where the survey was taken. The survey simply asked separately whether the person being surveyed would use the facilities proposed for the town hall site and for the school site. There also was a section for comments about the proposals.

Results for using the town hall site were: 93 yes and 61 no. Results for using the school site were 96 yes and 53 no.

Based on that feedback, the committee will continue to look at both sites, Gahart said.

The most common comment was saying the cost in the initial proposal was too high, Gahart said.

“That $9 million was a starting point,” Gahart said.

There also was a lot of concern expressed about overlap between the school’s facilities and the community facility proposed for the Paris School site, Gahart said. He expects future plans to be scaled back and with a separate building, not one connected to the school building.

The committee will report back to the town board on its scaled down proposal after meeting again, Gahart said.

The Legacy 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.

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