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Jun 6, 2011 10:33 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Sales tax for recreation in Youngsville

YOUNGSVILLE, La. (AP) - Youngsville officials are considering a sales tax proposal to pay for a new recreation complex, including a community center, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and several fields for baseball and soccer.
Plans are still in flux and depend on whether voters approve an additional sales tax for the project, said Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator.
"There is a big need for it, and I think the voters are going to have a choice to make," Viator said.
The Youngsville City Council is scheduled to consider the tax proposition - possibly 1 percent - Thursday, and the proposal could come before voters on Oct. 22 if the council decides to move forward, he said.
City officials have been discussing the possibility of a new recreation complex for a few years, and Viator said there was strong support for the project at a community meeting held last week.
Of the more than 100 people who attended the meeting, 96 percent favored passage of a sales tax to support the complex if it would not otherwise be built, Viator said.
The meeting last week was held mainly to solicit ideas for the development of the complex.
Viator said the wish list that emerged at the meeting included playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a 2-mile walking and jogging trail, a community center, and several fields for baseball, softball, T-ball and soccer.
The only recreation facility in Youngsville is Lafayette city-parish government's 16-acre Foster Memorial Park, which Viator said has not received the same attention for upkeep and upgrades as other parks in the parish.
"It's one of the things I've heard for years and years - that we have no recreational facilities to meet our constituents' needs," said Youngsville Councilwoman Brenda Burley, who heads the city's parks and recreation committee.
Burley said a new recreation complex would serve the growing number of young families in a city with a population that more than doubled to 8,105 over the past decade.
Burley said a large recreation complex would also attract regional sports tournaments to Youngsville, helping boost business in the city.
"This will be such great economic development for the city of Youngsville," she said.
A local business, Young's Industries, has agreed to donate 70 acres north of Chemin Metairie Parkway for the complex, Viator said.
He said the estimated cost for construction is about $11.5 million, assuming everything that residents have asked for is included.
Burley said the council will likely consider an additional 1-cent sales tax to pay for construction, operation and maintenance of the complex.
"This is 100 percent to the people," she said. "They either want this and find a need for it, or they don't."

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