The Standish Parks and Recreation Department is housed at Town Hall, but could relocate to a new community center if one is approved. File photo

STANDISH — The town will soon issue a request for proposals for a community center feasibility study after a report done in March highlighted the need for a local indoor venue.

Parks and Recreation Director Jen DeRice said in a phone interview earlier this month that voters approved the RFP during June elections, and she expects the request will be issued in August. The study would investigate how much a community center would cost and what its impact would be on local taxes.

The town received a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant to help offset the cost of the feasibility study.

DeRice added that the town completed another feasibility study 13 years, so “we do already have some information to go by.”

The economic downturn in 2008 tabled that earlier discussion about a community center.

In March, the 2019 Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment and Planning Final Report revealed that residents are interested in creating a stronger sense of community and that the parks and rec department should focus on improving communication and visibility.

Over 70 percent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that Standish needs a town-supported indoor recreation/community center.

Most survey participants strongly or moderately agreed that Standish needs a teen/youth center, indoor swimming pool, multipurpose gyms and a jogging/walking track. They also wanted afterschool programs, summer day camps, group fitness programs and other activities.

In the open-ended response portion of the survey, residents asked for groomed Nordic ski trails, batting cages, a shooting range and safe sidewalks and walkways. They contributed additional program ideas as well, such as kayaking, archery and horseback riding trails.

In a previous interview, DeRice said the eventual goal is to bring the community center question to a referendum vote so residents can decide whether they want the center.

DeRice said parks and recreation has also recently been working to increase awareness of its programs and services as a result of survey responses.

“We’re really trying. Our website is pretty active,” she said. “We’re getting more involved with community organizations just so they’re aware that we’re here and we’re a community resource.”

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