During the fall of 2014, several community leaders (City, School, Chamber, Economic Development, etc.) came together to update the original ‘Vision 2020’ planning that was completed in the 1990s. Later that winter, community input was gathered via public surveys. Stakeholders convened a Community Summit on February 12, 2015 to analyze the survey data and develop community priorities. Three top priorities emerged from this process: 1) Housing, 2) Rec Center, 3) Community Branding. Other topics addressed were the future of Gates Memorial Hall and concerns regarding Billy Sunday Baseball Field.
During the summer of 2015, a task force was established to explore the possibilities for development of a community Recreation Center in Nevada. RDG Architects assisted the task force in a two-year study, which included community surveys in Nevada and residents of eastern Story county. The process culminated in a $15 million Rec Center design, to be located on land to be purchased near the Story County Medical Center. Due to concerns regarding the financial feasibility of this project, the task force developed a second option using only the foremost priorities from the community survey data. A $4-5 million design was developed, to be placed at SCORE Park north of the Aquatic Center.
Due to long-standing liability concerns regarding Billy Sunday Baseball Field (consistent flooding, lights, electrical infrastructure, traffic safety), the City has been hesitant to invest in improvements at the current location. By moving High School Baseball to SCORE and combining construction of that new field with a new Rec Center, cost efficiencies can be recognized for both projects. The move will also allow the current Billy Sunday Field site to be repurposed as a practice area for the Nevada Soccer Club.
Completion of a Rec Center will also allow for relocation of the City Parks & Recreation offices, currently the sole tenant of Gates Memorial Hall. Without a need for Gates Memorial Hall, the City can fill a need for the School District by selling the property to NCSD. The purchase of Gates Memorial Hall by NCSD would allow the school district to relocate several district offices from various locations around the district to a central location. The Gates Auditorium would remain intact for various school activities and community rentals.