By Shelby Horton
Business instructor Dan Naccarato is one of many people encouraging Hutchinson residents to vote for the sales tax measure for expansion and upgrades at the Sports Arena.
Naccarato answered some questions about the project.
Q: How will you be voting on Tuesday, April 7, and why?
Naccarato: HCC Student Government and Business Club made arrangements with the Reno County Elections Office to set up on-campus advance voting on March 19 — so I already voted Yes! (116 voters cast ballots here on campus on March 19.)
Q: How do you encourage people to vote yes?
A: We simply provide peple with facts. The Sports Arena is 63 years old. We painted the interior and replaced some seats 34 years ago.
Nothing has ever been done to update building structure. We need more public restrooms. It is time to update concession stands. We need to invite teams into real locker rooms rather than closets. We need more multi-purpose gyms. Injured student-athletes deserve a modern training room.
Disabled persons ought to have acceptable access. The building entrances & exits need to be safe. Air conditioning will enable us to comfortably use the Sports Arena May through September.
The media needs a place to do their work when reporting on events at the Arena. We can keep the NJCAA National Basketball Tournament here with its $1.3 million-per-year of economic impact.
We can host many more events here in the center of Hutchinson if we approve this project. Now is the right time to renovate and enhance the facility.
Student and civic groups we have met with and people who toured the Sports Arena recognize the importance of supporting the project. 350 HutchWins! signs displayed around town show strong support for voting Yes!
Q: Why would this benefit HCC, and the Hutchinson in general?
A:The NJCAA committed to hold the National at the Sports Arena another 25 years when this issue is approved by voters.
We will also place ourselves in consideration for many other college, high school, youth, and community events year-round. We have a unique opportunity to become nationally known as a community college that features the very best facilities with the Sports Arena, Gowans Stadium and the Cosmosphere serving as the front porch to our campus. Such recognition enhances the value of every degree and course offered at Hutchinson Community College.
Q: What do you think of the “Vote no” campaign being ran by Mark Lowen and the Lowen Corporation?
A:Some people see the word “tax” and just say no. The truth is … by spending an extra 2 cents on a $5.70 lunch for 10 years, we significantly improve the quality of life in Hutchinson for the next 50 years, and draw more people to events here.
Nearly 25% of the cost to renovate the Sports Arena will be funded by people visiting our town who buy things while they are here. If we don’t do this project, we will need to spend millions of dollars on emergency repairs in future years, without enjoying any benefits to the community.
Q: What would like to say to undecided voters?
A:This project is a great deal for our community. The cost is low and the benefits are high. Every yes vote endorses the future of our community. Every yes vote reinvigorates the heartbeat of our city. Virtually everyone who listens to the facts approves of the plan. On April 7, please vote Yes!