Colchester residents to vote on $16M recreation center

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 11:12 PM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Colchester residents will weigh in on a $16 million recreation center on Town Meeting Day.

“The project has been in the works for well over 20 years,” Selectboard Member Jacki Murphy said.

Murphy says it’s the fruition of community surveys and design works. She and other town officials say it’s a critical need.

“It’s going to contain a walking track, courts, some exercise space, meeting space,” she said.

The plan is to build the two-story facility on town-owned land on East Lakeshore Drive, nearby Bayside Park. Officials say this location is central to the community, making it more accessible.

Now the question is, will taxpayers absorb the $16 million cost it will take to build it?

“There will be no property taxes whatsoever involved in the project,” Selectboard Chair Pam Loranger said. “We have $9 million bankrolled in local option taxes. The remaining $7 million will be paid for with future local option taxes.”

All that’s left is for those living in Colchester to vote in favor of releasing the funds. Town officials say they’re not too worried it won’t pass.

“When this project was being presented the room was full and I would say 100% of the people there were supporting it,” Murphy said.

“We listened. We responded,” Loranger added. “Now is the chance for the community to vote on the project and we hope they’ll vote yes.”

If voters want to move forward with the rec center, the operational costs will be covered by membership fees. As for a timeline, the estimated completion for construction would be in the spring of 2025.