The City Council is considering the need and interest in South Burlington for an Indoor Active Recreation Center (IARC) to be built at Veterans Park. The interest in an IARC for our community dates back over 20 years to earlier studies and efforts to build such a facility.
The most recent study was conducted in 2013 when a Council-appointed committee looked at the viability of building a Library, City Hall and IARC, as part of City Center. The Community Center at 180 Market Street, which includes a library and City Hall, will break ground this fall. However, an Indoor Active Recreation Center was deemed to be too large to work well and would be too expensive to build in City Center.
The South Burlington Recreation and Parks Committee has been an advocate for the construction of an IARC for many, many years. Committee members strongly believe that the City needs an indoor facility for those months of the year when weather no longer allows for outdoor activities such as pickleball, basketball, tennis, volleyball and other “net” sports as well as exercise classes for all ages, walking facilities and others. The long winters and cold/wet weather in Vermont make it ever more important to have an indoor facility of sufficient size for the public to play sports, recreate and just interact with one another.
The last point is very important; as the digital age has come upon us we find a new generation of people who socialize through electronic means if they socialize at all. SoBu Nite Out and other City-sponsored programs have helped to get residents out of their houses enjoying music, good food and good times with neighbors and friends and to make new acquaintances. An IRAC can do much the same throughout the winter months to include indoor entertainment, trade shows, farmers markets etc.
The decision to build an IRAC will be made by the voters at some yet to be established date in the future. The effort at this time is to develop information about the needs and interest of the public in a IRAC and project what the cost of construction and operations would be so voters can make an informed decision.
While the need for active indoor space in our community has been established for the past two decades, this timeline represents the most recent initiatives for this project. SEE TIMELINE.
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