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Community center survey to be sent out

| Monday, Nov. 4, 2002

Marshall residents will be given a chance to weigh in on whether township officials should spend tax dollars to build a community center.

A recreation survey in the township's fall newsletter will ask residents what type of recreation facilities they think Marshall should have. The survey will be sent out in a few weeks to the township's 2,000 homes, recreation Director Heather Jerry said.

Jerry and members of the recreation committee have asked township supervisors to cover costs of hiring a recreation specialist to study the possibility of building a community center in the township.

While supervisors have agreed to spend as much as $20,000 for the study, they also want input from residents.

Supervisor Bob Fayfich said the board has agreed to set aside money for the feasibility study in the 2003 budget but requested that residents be asked their opinions via a survey.

The township sent out a similar survey in 1996, and supervisors think a new one should be done because the community has grown significantly since then, Fayfich said.

As part of the survey, residents will be asked if they want a community center and, if so, what type of activities they would like to have conducted in it.

The survey also will ask residents about their other recreational desires, Jerry said.

The 1996 recreation survey showed that of the 45 percent of residents who responded, 83 percent supported the construction of a community center.

As part of the feasibility study, a park specialist would take the results of the latest survey and outline a recreation plan for the township.

If a community center is wanted, the study would determine how large it should be, its location and its offerings. It also would determine a cost.

As far as a location for a community center, Jerry has said the township's two parks — Warrendale and Knob Hill — might not be good spots.

Warrendale is too small, and some residents in the past have supported keeping Knob Hill's wooded areas, wetlands and hilly terrain as is, Jerry said.

Currently the township's parks offer playground equipment, playing fields and a disc golf course on a total of 116 acres.

In addition to its park land, the township also owns one indoor recreation facility — the Elias Fry Barn in Knob Hill Park. The barn, however, cannot be used in the winter because it has no heat.

As part of the survey, township residents likely also will be asked if they would like a township pool, Jerry said.

In the past, township officials have opposed constructing a swimming pool for several reasons.

Swimming pools are expensive to run, Jerry said. She added that she wasn't sure the township's population of 6,000 people would be enough to support it.

With the outdoor swimming pool in Cranberry, as well as a proposal for an indoor pool in a new YMCA complex in Franklin Park, Jerry said it might not be wise to duplicate services offered in neighboring communities.

In the 1996 survey, 55 percent of respondents said they would like the township to build a swimming pool.

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