A more than 40-percent expected increase in construction costs for Wood River’s proposed new recreation center, the former mayor’s pet project, inspired Councilman Jeremy Plank to call upon the City to refocus its priorities toward flood relief and pension debt.
Originally billed a $7.5-million project, it was announced earlier this month the current cost estimate will exceed $10.6 million. A total of $2.5 million will come from a state grant, with a 1-percent sales tax covering debt payments on the remainder of the project.
Plank deemed the recreation center plan fiscally irresponsible, noting by directing funds to this project, the City is neglecting more pressing issues.
“The primary focus should be infrastructure and pension debt,” he said. “There is no detailed plan for the rec center. Those supporting this project are speaking in generalities. All we know at this point is that the city will compete with small business for birthday party and baby shower rentals. There are no projected itemized revenues. The City has no itemized plan to cover the operational expenses it would incur each and every year for this 34,000-square-foot facility. The City needs to realign its priorities and I am hopeful that common sense will prevail.”