Letter to the Editor:

I want to appeal to the citizens of Wood River regarding Mayor Maguire’s intentions to build a new “Rec Center.”

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What she is planning is a Fitness Center. Stated in the mayor’s letter to the Telegraph Editor on March 7, 2020, this center will be located in place of the Aquatic Center. It will house two gymnasiums, a gymnastic room, meeting rooms, locker rooms and an elevated walking track. According to Wikipedia, a fitness center is a health club, a business with equipment and facilities for exercising and improving physical fitness. It would provide exercise machines such as treadmills, stationary bikes, weightlifting, etc. A fitness center would also provide personal trainers and fitness instructors.

The Roundhouse is Wood River’s Recreation Center. According to Wikipedia, a recreation center is for fun and games, play, relaxation, amusement, activities for enjoyment, leisure activities and parties. The Roundhouse is a unique and historical building. In 2019, new ceiling tiles and new lighting was installed. New heating/cooling was installed several years ago. The building appears to be in good shape. We have our monthly Wood River Senior luncheons and play Bingo there in a pleasant, spacious building. In the summer, Wood River has the ice cream social on the grounds. Activities are inside, as well as outside. People rent the building for birthday parties and showers.

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According to the blueprints of the Fitness Center, a splash pad will be located where the Roundhouse is sitting. The mayor attended a Wood River Senior meeting to talk about the 1% Sales Tax that, if voted in, would take effect in April 2019. She mentioned that there were rumors going around that the Roundhouse was going to be torn down. She stated that the rumors were untrue and that the Roundhouse was staying. However, in the grant application for this center, it was mentioned that the city plans to apply for an additional grant later “for demolition of the existing buildings (Roundhouse), shelter, and playground.” The City of Wood River should not be running a Fitness business. Do you really want to pay approximately $8,000,000 for this structure not knowing how it is going to pay for itself or the city possibly imposing future taxes to pay for operating and maintenance? Has a feasibility study been completed?

The Mayor needs to be honest with us. The footprint of this Fitness Center is larger than the old Aquatic Center. That is why the Roundhouse will be taken away, as well as, the playground equipment that was donated by two local businesses. The extra expenses will be put on us. Be aware Wood River Senior group that when this pandemic is over and we are able to meet and have fun together again, we will never know when our meeting place will be history! Call the Mayor’s office at 251-3100 to stop the demolition of the Roundhouse. Please act now! This Fitness Center project needs to be cancelled.

Mary Poeling

Wood River

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