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Opinion - Opinion
Mail: Wellness-recreation study will continueTell North Platte what you think

Over a year ago, Mayor Marc Kaschke asked me if I would be interested in forming a group to look at what might be done with the Recreation Center.

I knew that there were many other wellness and recreation projects being considered in the community, so I suggested forming a group to look at a bigger picture that would include not only the Recreation Center, but also other community needs. Mayor Kaschke agreed, so the North Platte Wellness and Recreation Group (NPWRG) evolved and began meeting to discuss options.

It became clear that an experienced company would be required to help make a fair assessment and develop a feasible and sustainable plan.

From the very beginning, the City Administrator and several City department heads have been part of the NPWRG. It makes sense for the City to partner with all of the other organizations which share a vision for what this community can be.

Everyone will have opportunities to provide input. We can make choices as a community once we know those options.

The Quality Growth Fund Plan specifically describes as one of its purposes to “create an environment that improves the quality of life for local residents’ and to “fund projects that will expand and attract business and industry.”

The Chamber and businesses are consistently asked what wellness and recreation opportunities we have here. Why not use those collected funds for a project which will attract newcomers as well as benefit everyone who lives here?

If you have questions, please feel free to contact any of the following individuals who have actively participated in the NPWRG discussions:

Amy Stefka, Silverstone Group

Bob Barr, City Recreation Director

Brian Plank, Union Pacific Railroad

Clarine Eckhoff, Platte River Mall Manger/Lincoln County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dan Mauk, Chamber/Devco Director

Darrick Parker, Great Plains Regional Medical Center/NEBRASKAland Days Board

David Pederson, Business Owner/Great Plains Regional Medical Center Board

Fiona Libsack, Great Plains Regional Medical Center Marketing Director

Greg Nielsen, Great Plains Regional Medical Center CEO

Jim Hawks, City Administrator

Job Vigil, North Platte Telegraph

Judy Pederson, Past City Council Member/Business Owner

Kevin Dodson, North Platte Catholic Schools

Leland Poppe, Great Western Bank

Lisa Burke, Lincoln County Convention & Visitors Bureau Director

Marcus Garstecki, North Platte Community College Vice President

Mark Oettinger, Walmart Distribution Center Manager

Michelle Stephens, Business Owner

Pat Keenan, Business Owner

Pete Kinnaman, North Platte Public Schools

Rich Raska, Physician

Tami Eshleman, North Platte Public Schools

Tony Orr, Union Pacific Railroad

Wes Meyer, City Parks Director

There may be differences as to how to go about creating a plan, but right now, there is no plan. The idea for this long term plan was formulated by a group of volunteers, representing a cross-section of the community, who spent over a year discussing the issue and reaching a consensus on how to proceed. That effort will continue.

By David Pederson, Chairman, North Platte Wellness and Recreation Group

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/19/2013
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