- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A proposed $9 million downtown fieldhouse in Salina is one step closer to reality, but the process is far from complete.

The Salina City Commission on Monday gave preliminary approval to the proposed fieldhouse, which supporters said would solve a longstanding lack of indoor recreational offerings in Salina.

The resolution directs city staff to continue discussions about the fieldhouse, and the process for final approval could take until 2017, the Salina Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1nMvSqW ).

The vote came after private investors raised their financial commitment from $3 million to $4.5 million, with the city providing the rest of the funds. The investors initially wanted the city to contribute $6 million, but now the project’s costs are split evenly.

“We have to make an investment into the community,” said Mayor Aaron Householter. “Let’s move the ball forward.”

The fieldhouse would be for practices, league games, tournaments and other activities. Discussions about the need for more indoor facilities have been going on since the 1980s, said city manager Jason Gage. Jeff Andrews, a teacher and coach at Salina Central High School, said athletes often practice until 10 p.m. on school nights.

“It is difficult to find court space for adequate practice times without going late into the evenings, especially if you want to practice more than once a week,” Gage said.

High school senior Marisa Bradshaw plays volleyball, basketball and soccer and said that she’s seen a “phenomenal” athlete move from Salina because she couldn’t play soccer year-round.

“Salina is a great place to raise a family,” she said. “Even now I am thinking about after college I would come back to Salina because it is a great community, but another thing to think about is what opportunities there will be for kids as far as sports go.”

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com


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