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Group meeting to plan Community Recreation Center

Entities involved in building a Community Recreation Center expect project completion sometime in 2014, organizers said.

The idea allows entities like the James River YMCA, Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department and athletic clubs to pool resources and build one facility that could potentially host tennis courts, gymnastics meets and maybe even a water park, said Mark Olson, executive director of the YMCA.

Jamestown already has an outdoor swimming pool at Jamestown College, but the land belongs to the school. Jamestown's lease expires in about two years, said Doug Hogan, Parks and Recreation director. So the city may want to consider including a new pool as it plans for the Community Recreation Center.

Potentially, the center could house the entire YMCA facility (which is currently also located at Jamestown College) including work-out equipment, a walking track, climbing walls and an extended child care program, Olson said.

The idea for a CRC surfaced nearly two years ago with hopes that community organizations could collaborate to build one center.

Working together makes the project more cost effective, Olson said. The center could draw out-of-town traffic to tournaments and meets, and it could also attract potential employees who are considering a move to the area.

Organizers estimate the project to cost $12 million to $13 million.

However, some community leaders have concerns about the new center. The structure would compete with current facilities in Jamestown, said Connie Ova, executive director of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Holding tournaments and meets at the CRC could compete with the Jamestown Civic Center for example, she said. She wondered if the community had enough events and need for both.

So far, the CRC project is in its beginning stages. The group expects to conduct a feasibility study this fall to determine needs and wants, said Bob Toso, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent.

"We want to make sure that whatever we build is what the community wants," he said.

The district has 90 acres of land near Jamestown High School available for building, Toso said, although the committee hasn't determined if that location is the best one.

Other cities in the area have similar centers, Hogan said. The facilities in Dickinson, N.D., Fargo, Bismarck and Aberdeen, S.D. are well-received by residents there, he said.

"Our board recognizes that a community center in Jamestown would be a valuable asset to the community," he said.

Funding for the project could include donations, public funding and perhaps tax support, Olson said.

CRC meetings are open to public and held at noon the first Monday of the month, in the Jamestown Public School Central Office conference room.

Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at