Rick Smith, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –
CEDAR RAPIDS — City Hall is creating a new task force to help solve what has been an elusive task — finding a site for a new Northwest Recreation Center.
The proposed eight-member task force is designed to get to a decision: It includes five of the nine City Council members, Monica Vernon, Don Karr, Chuck Swore, Scott Olson and Ann Poe.
Vernon spoke out strongly last week that the new recreation center should be built on the main thoroughfare through the near northwest side, Ellis Boulevard NW. Olson has said building on Ellis Boulevard NW can be problematic unless the city has a new flood protection system in place. He has suggested that the city explore placing a new recreation center on excess property at Harrison Elementary School, a move that might help get the school of the school district’s school-closing list, he said.
Poe grew up on Cedar Rapids’ west side and Karr, Swore and Olson live on that side of the city.
Others proposed for the task force are Linda Seger, president of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association, Sue Wesely, treasurer of the association, and Dale Todd, former city parks commissioner and City Council member and current president of the neighborhood development group, the Southside Investment Board.
Olson last week said he hoped that a task force could come up with a site in a couple of months.
An earlier task force had settled on three options, two in Ellis Park and one on park property next to the park. The council rejected those sites last week
The council has decided not to replace the flood-ruined Time Check Recreation Center, which had been at 1131 Fifth St. NW.