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Ellsworth Council talks recreation

POSTED: October 30, 2012 7:00 a.m.

Mark Kennedy, the newest member of the Ellsworth City Council, reads the oath of office Oct. 22 as Ellsworth city clerk Patti Booher looks on.

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A slide show highlighting a tour of the new Russell Rec Commission building was presented by Ellsworth Recreation director Ron Tenbrink at Monday’s meeting of the Ellsworth City Council.
Russell Rec is housed in a former National Guard Armory, similar to the one Ellsworth maintains as the Ellsworth Recreation Center. The guard turned the buildings over to the cities years ago. Ellsworth council members have recently talked about upgrades to the old armory because Tenbrink doesn’t have enough space for his recreation programs.
At Russell, the rec commission is its own entity — separate from the city and funded through the local school district, Tenbrink said.
He said the commission bought the building for $1, which included an offer from the National Guard to provide $1 million for upgrades.
“Basically, they went in and spent $86,000,” he said.
“All they had to invest was $86,000,” Mayor Steve Bahan said. “My gosh, I’d do that in a heartbeat.”
The Russell building includes a gym, office space, storage space, kitchen and a wellness center with a variety of equipment.
“It was really nice,” Tenbrink said.
“Is that the model you think would work best for you?” council member John Whitmer asked. “Is that what you think we should be looking for?”
Tenbrink said he talked with city administrator Tim Vandall and “I just don’t think it’s the right time, right now, given what the school is trying to do.”
The Ellsworth-Kanopolis-Geneseo School District has mailed surveys to district patrons in the wake of a failed bond issue to build a new gymnasium and make other improvements.
The creation of a stand- alone rec commission — like the one in Russell — would be subject to a district-wide vote.

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