Rutland bought a gym on Election Day.

City voters approved a $1.45 million bond to buy the former College of St. Joseph athletic center and a portion of the surrounding land. The bond issue passed by a decisive 5,160 to 2,339.

Recreation Superintendent Kim Peters said she was excited to move forward with plans for the facility.

“I honestly have a to-do list on my desk that says ‘For Wednesday,’” she said. “We’ve worked so hard for the community, and so many people care bout this.”

The city leased the facility from the trustees late last year and continued the lease after the trustees turned the campus over to Heritage Family Credit Union. The facility served as a location for high school basketball games while the regular gym was under repair and the recreation department relocated its offices there. It quickly saw heavy use, especially from people looking for a new place for indoor walking after Diamond Run Mall closed.

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, the department pivoted to using the facility to provide day care services for children of essential workers.

“I think, for me, the recreation department has proved the programming and the need for this,” Peters said. “Any no vote ... I want to prove to them this is going to be worth it for the community.”

The city negotiated a $1.8 million purchase price and then secured a grant covering $350,000.

Heritage has signed a deal selling the remainder of the campus to the Florida-based Heartland Communities of America, which is planning a $50 million project to convert the campus into a 175-unit assisted living facility. One building on the campus has also been leased to Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region to serve as a call center, administrative offices and training facility.

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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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