LOUISBURG — The Louisburg Recreation Commission (LRC) will ask voters on Nov. 2 to approve a one-mill increase in their budget so they can expand programs to better serve the growing community, said the organization’s director.
LRC Director Diana Moore said the one-mill increase would provide support for current and future recreational projects, which may include new sports facilities. LRC would like to build a multi-use quadplex at Lewis-Young at a future date.
LRC has placed a question on the Nov. 2 ballot that will ask voters to remove the rec commission’s one mill cap and approve the levying of two mills, starting in the 2022 tax year. Language in the ballot question notes LRC would have the ability to raise the mill by one mill each year until it reaches a maximum of four mills, in accordance with state statute.
LRC has scheduled a town hall meeting for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Fox Hall in downtown Louisburg to talk with voters about the proposed mill increase and the group’s future plans ahead of the election. Advance voting begins Oct. 13.
The city of Louisburg and Louisburg USD 416, as the local taxing entities, passed resolutions that allowed LRC to put the mill question on the ballot.
If a quadplex were built in the future, the debt would be carried by the city, and Moore said the mill increase could help pay for the project. A proposed site at the park for the quadplex would be located directly across from Powell Observatory where the former high school soccer field was located.
The Louisburg City Council would have to approve construction of the quadplex since it would be built on city-owned property. The city has not committed any funding for the proposed quadplex.
Creation of the recreation commission was approved in the 2016 election, and LRC has been operating with a one-mill budget since it started in February 2018.
“In the last 3 ½ years we’ve been operating with one mill, but we feel we’ve outgrown our mill, and we can do so much more,” Moore said. “Not just maintaining our current programs but we want to continue to grow and serve the community’s needs.”
About 500 kids have signed up for LRC’s fall programs, an increase of 100 participants compared to last fall. The park is busy during the spring, summer and fall sports seasons with LRC’s kids and adult programming, and the high school in the spring.
“This is the largest we’ve had,” Moore said. “Each year, our numbers are rising. We’re growing by leaps and bounds. It’s a good problem to have.”
Moore said LRC wants to continue to expand and improve its programs, which it cannot do with a one-mill budget.
“We have outgrown our mill for our programming, and we’ve outgrown some of our facilities,” Moore said. “It’s almost at the point where we don’t have room to find them practice space.”
A majority of LRC’s outdoor activities take place at Lewis-Young Park, which can create scheduling nightmares at the current facilities with a limited number of fields.
“When it was built for this size of community, I’m sure it was perfect, but we have come to a point where we are starting to struggle to keep up with the number of kids that are playing and the number of teams,” Moore said.
She pointed out other recreation commissions in neighboring communities in the area like Osawatomie, Ottawa and Baldwin, have levies of three to four mills.
One mill currently generates $149,747 for LRC, Moore said.
She said that one mill pays for two full-time salaried employees, a part-time enrichment coordinator and five hourly sport supervisors that work on game days.
The one mill also helps cover the cost of programming from facility rentals, referee training and background checks for anyone that works for or volunteers for the LRC, Moore said. And one mill allows LRC to offer many events and programs at no cost to participants such as chair yoga for senior citizens, Friday Preschool Play Day, pickleball, self-defense class, the haunted hayride and others, she said.
Raising the rate by one mill would add $23 in property taxes annually on a $200,000 home, she said.
“We would love to help pay for a multi-use quadplex out at Lewis-Young Park, not just for baseball and softball, but flag football, tackle football and soccer,” Moore said. “There’s so much we could do with a multi-use complex out there.”
Louisburg’s proximity to Overland Park makes it an ideal location to serve as a satellite site for baseball and softball tournaments — something it cannot do with its current facilities, Moore said.
She said serving as a host site would have direct and indirect benefits, including bringing people to town who eat at Louisburg’s restaurants, buy fuel at its gas stations, pick up items at the grocery store and visit other local shops.
Moore encouraged residents to attend the town hall meeting Oct. 12 to learn more about LRC and its plans.
“Lewis-Young is not going away. It’s going to be here for decades to come,” Moore said. “So I think investing in it now is very important.”