Our Opinion: Vision 2020’s rec center plans should remain transparent

Daily Herald Editorial

We are glad to hear Vision 2020 is making progress on a community recreation center, one of the community improvement group’s 10 overarching goals to complete by the year 2020. As the project moves forward, we would urge Vision 2020 volunteers to be as transparent as possible concerning the process to a new recreation center.

Vision 2020’s grand efforts are a welcome boon to the community, though Austin residents have at times seemed confused about certain aspects of Vision 2020. One Herald reader recently wrote a published letter to the editor accusing the group of using taxpayer dollars to fund the multi-million dollar project.

That won’t happen. While the city of Austin and Mower County have given thousands to Vision 2020 for smaller projects, Vision 2020 volunteers will seek state, federal and private grants, in addition to a planned public campaign where anyone can donate.

Yet large-scale projects like a brand-new recreation center invite many questions, from how Vision 2020 can pay for such a project to where volunteers will put the new recreation center. Those questions are important to residents, and it’s paramount for Vision 2020 to explain loud and often as many recreation center details as possible.

A new recreation center is an exciting prospect for Austin, especially since it appears tax dollars won’t subsidize the project. Vision 2020 may find a lot more support by getting as much community buy-in as early as possible, so Austin residents can get excited too.

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