A while back, I attended a meeting where a representative of Sedalia’s Parks and Rec Department detailed a proposed community center for the people in our fair city – and county residents as well. I listened intently because I have always thought that Sedalia needs a community center. Warrensburg has one, for heaven’s sake, and Warrensburg’s population is less than half Sedalia’s! The proposed plan for the community center included things such as pickleball courts (I understand that Sedalia has quite a pickleball fan base), tennis courts, a place for yoga and aerobic activity, maybe including the senior center – just lots of different activities for lots of different people. 

Then he told us the plans had to be offered to the people for a vote. And the City Council had not decided to put it on the ballot, for some reason.

I came home and wrote a piece about it that was in the paper the next Saturday. Regardless, a proposal for a community center never made it to the ballot, showing my incredible range of influence. 

Now, however, because of changing circumstances and a generous gift from Sue Heckart, the citizens of Sedalia are going to be able to vote in August “fer” or “agin’” a community center to be built at the former Jennie Jaynes stadium site. Finally, the question will be in the hands of the people. The voters of Sedalia will be able to decide whether they want their city to offer more options for more people, or just stand still with the status quo ante.

According to the Sedalia Democrat (June 14), “Sedalia voters will be asked to consider a one-eighth cent sales tax increase, which would be one cent for every $8 spent by a citizen. Voters will also vote on whether to remove the June 30, 2026, sunset provision on existing capital improvement sales taxes. These will help pay for and maintain the center.” So if you are for the addition of a first-class community center for the people of Sedalia, you must vote “Yes” on both of those ballot items, and if you are not for that addition, you will vote “No” on each of them.  

A note regarding the issue of sales tax: We won’t be the only ones paying it. People who drive through Sedalia on the way to the Lake or home, people from places like Warsaw or Marshall who come to shop, people who stay at our hotels – all these people will buy something in Sedalia, and they will pay sales tax, including a portion of our community center.

Should you choose to vote for the construction of a community center, your “Yes” votes will begin an exciting project for the city, making some activities available for people who may not have had access to those activities before. 

I remember when Emily played basketball at Convention Hall. Convention Hall is a lovely old building that reminds me of my junior high school gym, but it isn’t very comfortable for the throngs of people who go to watch their little ones learn to dribble and shoot and other basics of the game. In a new facility, we will be able to get more kids running up and down more courts – and more seats will be available for people who want to watch them.

The pickleball devotees will have access to courts, and players will be able to bring in their friends from other towns to play in tournaments. Senior citizens – and I am one of those now – will have a lovely new place to eat meals together, hold their writing club and other groups, and generally socialize. I think that’s especially important for those who live alone and need to connect with others. 

The new building will also house an aquatic center, making a pool available all year round for those who like swimming laps or doing aquatic exercise, or, as Emily always wanted for her birthday in the next to last day of the year, a swimming birthday party.

All in all, this proposal offers much to Sedalia and surrounds – fitness, fun, actual community – and I hope that we take a giant step forward this August.

 

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