TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Shawnee County Commission has approved a budget item for the Parks and Recreation Department Monday morning, allowing them to move forward on a $10 million recreation center expansion in west Topeka.
While in talks about the full Capital Improvement Project budget, the commission voted 2-1 in favor of specifically the $10 million earmarked for the Midwest Health Aquatic Center around 10:50 a.m. Many people came to the meeting to make public comments both for and against the recreation center.
The county’s Midwest Health Aquatic Center on 21st and Urish Road – at the center of the budget debate – has an additional 60 acres of land on the property that sits empty.
“We own it, we need to use it,” Commissioner Bob Archer said previously.
The county is looking to expand this pool space into a multi-generational recreation center, saying the southwest quadrant of Shawnee County only has one recreation center.
“There is what I like to call a parks and recreation desert in the southwest part of Shawnee County,” Archer said.
Members of the parks and recreation advisory board were fighting commissioners on the proposed project, saying there were more pressing uses for the money.