- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Supporters of a $29 million renovation plan for the Hutchinson Sports Arena scored an easy win in Tuesday’s election.

Unofficial returns show nearly 75 percent of the voters approved of a 0.35 increase to local sales tax to update and add more space to the arena, which was built in 1953. The tax will take effect in July and remain in place for about 10 years. Hutchinson Community College has pledged $4.5 million for the project.

“I just feel that the margin is a great indicator of the energy that is carrying Hutchinson forward,” said Mimi Meredith, consultant for pro-renovation group HutchWins! “This will lead to so many great things in this community. Great people live here and they really do deserve the best.”

The Hutchinson News reports (http://bit.ly/1yUUDS3 ) the planned improvements include replacing the plumbing, electrical and heating systems, and new home men’s and women’s locker rooms. Other plans include a new main entrance, lobby and ticketing area, more restrooms, two full-sized practice gyms, a new weight room and more storage. More seating compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be created on the upper level of the arena as well.

City Manager John Deardoff says a building committee of five to seven people who are “representative of stakeholders” and affiliated with the city, college and community will be gathered to discuss the plans.

According to Deardoff, early recommendations for the plans could be placed on the city council agenda as early as April 21. He hopes construction can start later this spring.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com

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