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Mountain Home community divided over potential recreation center

In 2000 the citizens of West Elmore County voted to tax themselves to build a recreation center. (KBOI photo)

In 2000 the citizens of West Elmore County voted to tax themselves to build a recreation center.

Now – seventeen years later – the lot where the center was supposed to be remains empty.

“This property over here is 4-acres that we purchased and the building had started, they were elected, and as soon as they were elected, they canceled the contract,” said Vivian Meyer of Mountain Home.

Meyer and the Mountain Home Friends of Recreation group are working to recall the elected officials they say are responsible.

They say construction was underway in 2015, until Art Nelson and Judy Mayne were elected to the board of directors.

“They had actually started getting going and the first thing they did was cancel it which was a $14,000 penalty,” Meyer said.

The lot still hosts a sign for the Mountain Home Rec Center that never came to be, as well as signs of preliminary building.

“When everything was said and done, the fees and everything else, it cost us over $800,000,” Meyer said.

The Friends of Recreation group claims the two elected officials are violating the Idaho constitution code by giving taxpayer money to what they believe to be private interests.

“Code 31-4216 directs the purpose of a recreation district is for the uses and purposes of acquiring, providing, maintaining, and operating public recreation centers for the use of the residents of the district and the public in general. And not all of the public can use what they are giving money to,” Meyer said.

Which is why they are petitioning to have the Western Elmore County Recreation District board of directors – Nelson and Mayne – removed from their position.

Art Nelson, president of the board says he isn’t concerned at all about the petitions.

And defended his decision to halt construction in a statement to KBOI 2 News saying, “The previous board would've taken tax dollars to compete against locally owned gyms, a dance studio, and Day Cares. I ran on cancelling the overpriced, never to be finished elitist club and won with over 60 percent of the vote.”

Nelson claims the rec center for Mountain Home is still a go, but it's a long way out.

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