Sports Facility Complex Issue

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Many people agree that the addition of a sports complex to the city of Meridian could aid in economic development and provide a state-of-the- art facility for the city's youth.

The one big issue surrounding the proposed complex is where to put it.

City hall was packed Monday night for a public meeting and people voiced their opinions on the matter. They were still talking about it Tuesday,

"I'm totally against it and would not support a sports complex in that location," said Jim Quick.

"Do I care more about a tree, a horse, or a human life, or the children of this community? I don't think I have to tell you what that answer is," said Chuck Gordon, who favors the Bonita location.

Some argue that Bonita is the perfect place for the complex because it's near many of Meridian's hotels, restaurants, and shops, while others feel that the park is a nature preserve that shouldn't be touched, and say there are other places to put such a facility.

"I love the idea of bringing in more revenue for the city," said Bo Haarala, a supporter of the Bonita location. "There are several cities doing things like this right now, and they're putting those charges on restaurants. I've experienced that."

"I've had so many people from out of town who have sports complexes and other facilities, say how lucky we are in Meridian to have such a unique facility in Bonita," Quick said.

One thing for certain is that this debate will continue until an agreement can be met.

Other proposed sites for the sports complex are: the old fairgounds site on South Frontage Road, a site on old Highway 80, the former Fish Hatchery site on Highway 11, property north of Phil Hardin Park, and land off the new Jimmie Rodgers Parkway.

If the complex is built, it would likely be paid for with a two percent restaurant tax.