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Wildwood center talk Wednesday

(ran East, South)

City plans to double the size of Wildwood Community Center _ and possibly buy adjacent residential property for the project _ will be discussed at a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the center.

The project is early in the planning stages, said John Green, capital improvements director for the city's Leisure Services Department. The meeting will gather opinions of those who are interested in shaping the $3.5-million project.

"We want your input," Green said. "We want to do it in a manner that benefits the entire community."

Green said four broad possibilities will be presented at the meeting. Three options involve expanding the park and buying land adjacent to the center, 2650 10th Ave. S. The fourth option would use only the land the city now owns.

Jean Hammond, president of Wildwood Heights Neighborhood Association, said she is pleased by the plans to replace the aging community center. The gym is small, and there is no room for community meetings, she said.

Hammond encourages residents to attend Wednesday's forum, particularly those who live just east of the Wildwood complex, where the city would most likely look to buy land. She said she is not sure how the community will receive the proposal to expand east of Wildwood Park.

"Going east, I'm not sure what these people are going to think about giving up their properties," Hammond said. "These are family homes."

Hammond said a sizable parcel is for sale south of the Wildwood complex and hopes the city would be able to make that work.

The community center replacement project would take about 3{ years to complete, Green said. The old center would be torn down and replaced. The new center would be 25,000 to 26,000 square feet.

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