Why You Should Vote Yes Twice for the Heckart Community Center
The following is an opinion of Townsquare Media Operations Manager Rob Creighton. It is his own opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Townsquare Media Sedalia-Warrensburg. Full disclosure, Sedalia Parks & Recreation advertises with Townsquare's Radio Stations and is an occasional promotional partner. Rob and his wife relocated to the Sedalia area this spring largely on the good impression the Sedalia-Warrensburg area had on them.
I think you should vote yes twice on Tuesday August 6 when you go to the polls to vote on removing the 1/2 cent sales tax sunset that will take effect on June 30, 2026. And a 1/8 sales tax increase to help pay for the building of the community center.
Why? It's an important piece of infastructure that will entertain and help keep Sedalia residents healthy. Just as important, it's a piece of infastructure that will make Sedalia more attractive to businesses and industries who are looking for a place to locate and want to give their employees a good quality of life. It also provides another benefit for people moving to the area to choose Sedalia as the town they want to live in.
I'm living proof. When I first came to Sedalia to work for Townsquare Media I met a friend who had been living in town for a year. As we talked about what the community had to offer one of the big drawbacks my friend told me was lack of a community center. He was dissapointed he didn't have the option to use a community center to stay in shape.
That stuck in my head as my wife and I looked for a place. I'm at my healthiest when I can hop on a treadmill and spend some time working out on the machines in a fitness room or gym. The last couple of apartments we had were in complexs with gyms. I knew that probably wasn't in the cards for us this time, and lack of an affordable work out place through parks and recreation became a negative to living in Sedalia.
People choose to live where they do based on their perceptions of what those communities have to offer. Is it safe? Are the people friendly? How easy is it to keep my family healthy? What will give my kids a good upbringing? What is there to do?
When a company or business chooses to move to a town they think about those things. As potential employees vette a town they've been offered a job in they think about those things too.
If you're a long time resident you may not think that much about the Katy Trail, the restored Katy Depot, the Sedalia arch into downtown, the Clover Dell Dog Park, State Fair Community College, or how downtown Sedalia looks. All these things create an impression on people and companies looking to call Sedalia home. The Heckart Community Center will too.
Put aside the year round Aquatics center which will benefit families in June and January. Put aside the senior center that may become a place to meet with your friends when you're a little older. Put aside the fitness center which might help you get rid of that spare tire you're carrying around. Put aside the gym where your son or daughter might meet their best friend for life while playing a pick up basketball game. Put aside the programming that the parks and recreation department will be able to offer. Put aside the variety of community events and meetings that can be held there that you won't need a membership to attend.
This community center will be another tool to help Sedalia attract businesses and companies to town. It will help companies already here attract and retain great employees. It will help Sedalia attract and retain police officers, firefighters, teachers, city employees. It's one more thing that will attract doctors and dentists to practice here. It will make our community stronger. Even if you have no plans to ever set foot in the building, there's still a good chance it will benefit you some way.
We have the opportunity to do this now thanks to the generosity of Sue Heckart. Without her donation we're not having this discussion. It'd be a shame to pass on her generosity now to find out in two, five or ten years a community center is a "must" for a vibrant community. At that point we're not talking about a fraction of a penny tax increase and repealing a sales tax sunset law. We're talking something that'll cost everyone who lives, works and enjoys what Sedalia has to offer a lot more.
That's why I think you should vote "yes" twice at the polls on Tuesday August 6.