Rutland Approves New Recreation Center
03/02/11 7:34AM By Nina Keck  Download MP3
(Host) In Rutland, the most hotly debated issue was not the municipal or school budgets but a $3.9 million bond vote to upgrade the city's recreation department.
As VPR's Nina Keck reports, it came down to the wire.
(Keck) Rutland city residents approved the recreation department bond by just over 100 votes. A more expensive proposal to relocate and expand the department was voted down last year so many expected a close race. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras, who ran unopposed this year, says he's relieved the measure passed.
(Christopher Louras) "I'm extremely pleased that the voters supported the new recreation center down at Georgetti Park. It's an investment in our future, it's an investment in our community and frankly I'm proud of the voters that they supported it."
(Keck) Local resident Chuck Piotrowski says he thinks the vote is another sign that Rutland is going through a renaissance of sorts. While opponents had argued that now was not the time to take on more debt, he disagrees. The nearly $4 million bond is expected to cost taxpayers about $15 a year for the average homeowner. That's less than the cost of a tank of gas says Piotrowski.
(Piotrowski) "It's a good investment because first and foremost a community center is a symbol of the community. A recreation center you can almost call it a civic health club. It says this community values it's personal health, its community health, It says that hey - we want to build something that's open to our children, our families and the elderly in our community.
(Keck) With so much attention focused on the recreation department vote -there was little if any talk about Rutland's municipal and school budgets this year - which both passed overwhelmingly.
For VPR news, I'm Nina Keck in Rutland.