Community center FAQ
Why is the City exploring the construction of a new community center?
Originally built as an elementary school, the existing Creekside Community Center facility has outlived its useful life. Reinvestments needed to maintain the building do not make financial sense and there are significant limitations on the way space could be remodeled or repurposed. In 2016 a resident task force recommended that the City Council explore construction of a new community center that would better meet the needs of residents of all ages.
Why is the Valley View Park site the preferred location?
The land at Valley View Park is large enough to accommodate the community center being envisioned and it is already City owned. Building a new community center there would allow the City to maximize the other recreation facilities within the park and to address the aging pool facility, with a possible indoor-outdoor aquatic space that could be used year round.
What will happen to the current Creekside Community Center?
Creekside Community Center would remain open during the construction of a new community center, but is expected to close when a new community center is built. A new community center would provide space for many of the programs currently delivered at the Creekside site. The potential sale or re-use of the Creekside property will be the focus of future City Council discussions.
Will there be programs for seniors at the new community center?
Most of the programs for seniors currently offered at Creekside would move into the new community center. In addition, the new facility will open up the opportunity to add more programming for seniors such as additional group fitness classes.
What will the proposed community center look like?
This has not been determined at this time. One of the next steps will be to select an architect who will then work with the City Council, residents, staff and other stakeholders to begin design of the proposed facility.
What will be included in a new community center?
No final decisions have been made, but components being explored include:
- Gymnasium space
- Walking track
- Indoor playground
- Indoor and outdoor aquatic features
- Fitness equipment and classrooms
- Numerous community rooms for meetings, classes and programs
- Large event and meeting space
The City is also exploring whether to include space for the City’s Public Health Division, which is in serious need of new office and clinic space.
How much will a new Community Center cost? What will the impact be on my property taxes?
The cost of the project will not be known until decisions about the final building design, size, and program elements are finalized by the City Council. An estimate of project cost will be better known by the end of 2019.
What is the funding source for construction of a new community center?
The funding source has not been determined. There are several potential sources for funding the construction of a community center. One source is a bond referendum. In a bond referendum voters are given the opportunity via a ballot measure to approve a proposed issue of municipal securities for the purpose of constructing a public facility. This is considered a pure general obligation bond, meaning it is 100% supported by taxes and the City Council pledges the full faith and credit of the City. Interest rate on the debt is the lowest in the market at time of issuance.
Another financing option is lease revenue bonds. This form of long-term borrowing is commonly used to finance public facilities, including community centers. The City’s Port Authority would be the issuer of the bonds and the City the lessee for a specific project (revenues to support the debt service on the bonds are lease payments to the Port Authority.) As this is a revenue bond, the interest rate will be higher. Since the requirement for annual appropriations for lease revenue bonds does not treat them as debt, there is no need for voter approval.
A third potential funding source is charter bonds. By a vote of five of its members, the City Council can adopt a resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds that pledge the full faith and credit and taxing powers of the City. Interest rate on the debt is the lowest in the market at the time of issuance. The general obligation bonds can be issued on such terms and conditions the Council determines, without obtaining the approval of a majority of the electors voting on the question of issuing such bonds. The City can pledge any other available revenues or assets of the City to the payment of the general obligation bonds. General obligation bonds can be issued for a public purpose to finance any capital improvement and related costs including, but not limited to, interest on the bonds, the costs of feasibility studies, design, and plans and specifications, publication costs, costs of issuance and other capital costs of any capital improvement.
Other potential funding sources include the sale of the existing property at Creekside and savings.
Are we looking to meet the needs of future and current residents, or be an attractor for younger families?
The answer is “yes” to all of the above. A new community center would be right-sized and purpose-built to meet the needs of residents both now and into the future. Creekside is undersized to accommodate current community center program demands in Bloomington. The City cannot offer the programming desired by its residents due to the lack of space and flexibility in the current facility. A vibrant community center would improve the quality of life in Bloomington and serve as an attractor for younger families as well as older residents.
What is the time frame for a new community center?
It is anticipated that given the number of steps required for planning, design, funding and construction, it could take up to four years before a community center is built and operational if the project moves forward.
How will the additional traffic for patrons of the new community center be managed?
As a part of the Valley View site review a traffic study will be conducted and the results included in the recommendations to City Council.