What about a community center in Laporte? 65% say "Yes, please!"

Is Laporte ready for a community center? If so, what should it include? Who will pay for it, and how much will it cost to use it?

These are among the questions mailed by Larimer County to 1,246 residents in the Laporte area. The original idea was hatched by a group of locals lunching at LaPorte Pizza in late 2014. As they contemplated the fate of the Long Branch bar that was up for sale, one member of the group speculated that the building could be torn down and replaced by a community center. This might be a place that, among other things, be suitable for local teens to socialize close to home.

Laporte resident John Schmid took the idea to the Laporte Area Advisory Committee, and the county expressed their willingness to distribute the survey. Schmid said that at this time, there is no solid group of people pushing for a community center. However, residents need to be aware of the possibility and the results of the survey.

Specific questions concerning the size, location and cost of a community center were not included in this preliminary survey. Here are the facts:

11 percent of about 1,400 surveys were returned (some were distributed in area drop boxes)

65 percent favored having a community center in Laporte. Four most desired facilities/services were exercise/weight room, basketball court, swimming pool and library services.

Many of those favoring a center were willing to help finance it with donations ranging from $25 to $500. Daily fees and variable rates were mentioned.

16 percent of respondents were unsure about a community center. No reasons were given though it is likely these respondents feared a higher property tax to finance the facility.

19 percent opposed a community center believing it is unnecessary because of the proximity of centers in Fort Collins and because they did not want to turn LaPorte into “another Fort Collins.”

“I have no strong feelings one way or the other about a community center in Laporte,” Schmid said. He is an advocate of making the community aware of the survey results, something the county is not able to do. The LAPAC has posted the survey results on its Facebook page.

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