The Roland-Story voters will be asked to consider a $5.3 million dollar bond issue in February. There are many reasons to vote No. To start, voting for the renovation of the auditorium and voting for the multimillion dollar sport complex, should be separate bonds. Combining the two makes no sense and is not fair to the voters or to the school.
Roland-Story communities have always stepped up when it was necessary to build additional school buildings or to improve and repair the existing ones. The renovation and updating of the auditorium falls within these goals. The auditorium is used year around and benefits all students and staff.
Therefore, it obviously needs to be considered, and voted upon, separately.
One of the most important factors in considering a new stadium is lack of revenue. The area is a prime location for commercial businesses that could generate sales and property taxes, plus potentially create employment opportunities. This may not happen soon, but in the meantime, the current owner of the outlet mall is responsible for the taxes. We, as citizens, are not. If the commercial option does not come to fruition, there would be an opportunity for rezoning the area to residential, thus homes or apartments could be built. Either alternative would produce revenue for the city.
In regard to the multimillion dollar complex, not only would it be expensive to build and maintain, but would not generate any revenue for Story City, ever. All this cost, for a facility that is only used a few months out of the year. Also, we have to remember the new complex would require the school to bus the students to and from games, meets and practices. Presently, everyone can just walk or run down the block. Current employees will need to increase their workload or additional employees would be needed to bus students and maintain the increased grounds. All this expense for a school district that already claims they cannot afford to hire more teaching or custodial staff.
Regarding the flooding concern, The SC Herald published there were eight floods in the last nine years. Only one time, in all those years, was a football game cancelled. Six of those floods occurred in the summer, when school was not in session.
Another concern of the pros was that the city owns the area currently used for the shot put/and discus competition. The city has no intention of “pulling it out from under the school” as stated. In fact, they agree the area could be opened up for the visiting team and all attendees to park as weather permits. Visitor buses could come and go from the south end of the field. As far as restrooms for the visiting team, why not build another restroom on the south end or rent temporary facilities for the few months the field is in use.
Currently there are locker rooms for the home and visiting teams use at the school a block away. All players can walk, or their bus drivers could deliver their team to the door.
Parking was also mentioned as a concern. Broad Street is the only busy street. Besides the 3 parking lots nearby, there are adequately lighted sidewalks available for those who park on side streets, plus the south end parking area is available, as mentioned above.
The argument that the district does not control the water supply to the field is a falsehood, also. The city will not deny the water for irrigation of the present field unless there is a severe drought, where by the entire city would be put on a “conserve water order”.
As some of you may not know, our municipal electric utility now donates the electricity for the current field lighting. If a new larger stadium was built the electric utility, if they choose to continue this service, could not be expected to donate more than the current level of kilowatt hours. The result would be an additional expense for the school.
As for the concern of the odor from the water treatment plant being offensive… that was almost laughable. After all, we live in a rural farming community in Iowa and are accustomed to multiple odors all year around.
It was mentioned that perhaps the current football field area could be used to build housing. This is not possible for several reasons. Two being, the city water works are all underground in that location, plus the area is in a floodplain.
Please don’t try to tell us that families won’t chose to move to Story City because we don’t have a fancy stadium. Just take a drive from I-35 to Hwy 69. Story City is beautiful Iowa community. We have lovely homes, an attractive and active downtown, a golf course, swimming pool, and beautiful parks, etc.
We all understand that the track needs to be replaced at some point. The current track has been under water on occasion, yet still has outlasted its life expectancy. Obviously, it takes “significant personnel time” and several days to clean up the present field/track after a flood. Story City and Roland both have a fantastic volunteer base. The communities would “step up to clean up” if asked.
Granted the concession stand and its restrooms, at the current location, do need to be replaced or remodeled. This would be a minor expense compared to what is proposed.
Let us think about other ways to improve facilities for R-S athletes and the community. Consider improving or moving the 3 baseball fields. There are approximately 100 games played by the school and Parks & Recreation youth/adult programs throughout the spring and fall. In the future, why not reconsider the proposal to put a baseball/soccer complex on the north end of Holm Avenue where the soccer fields are currently located.
Mr. Clark said in his editorial there are three kinds of school districts: thrive, survive or die. The same goes for communities. Love’s Travel center would have been a boost to Story City’s economy in many ways helping us to thrive versus survive or die. The revenue lost to our schools and our community, because of that choice, still stings for many of us.
What about those who were concerned about “light and noise pollution”? Do the residents of Jacobson Park want a stadium in their back yard? I would think not!
Last and most importantly, to all of you that filled the council chamber and the community center AGAINST the Love’s truck stop being located on the EAST side of the interstate at the Story City exit, certainly you won’t vote yes for this stadium location. What about the “safety of your children”? Have you ever been to a home game? Have you not seen the many children running around unsupervised. To those of you who feared abduction and human trafficking at a truck stop across the interstate, are you so naïve to think your child will be safe at ball games/track meets, just off the west Story City exit. What a grab and go opportunity for the abductors! Do your research. Statistics show most abductions occur at sporting, social, or school events.
Finally, if you are going to be out of town in February, for whatever reason, for this crucial vote, please make arrangements to acquire an absentee ballot. Call the Story County Auditor’s office at 515-382-7210 or go online at www.storycountyiowa.gov and find the ballot request form. Your vote is so very important!
Linda Disbrowe, of Story City, is a guest columnist for the Herald this week. She was born and raised in Story City, and her father, Harold Holm, was the mayor is Story City for more than 20 years.