Rec Center Campus inching along in Madison

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)-- The Madison City Council voted Monday on small steps that move the Madison Rec Campus along. They approved ground leases and a construction bid, but postponed an important vote that had originally been the cornerstone of the project. It was a vote on an agreement with Madison Fieldhouse, LLC.

Council member Steve Smith said even without that agreement, which they hope to have finished soon, there were still important strides made Monday.

"It's gives me a relief and maybe a new sense of urgency to finish the deal," said Smith.

The Madison swim community packed the Madison City Council chambers Monday. They joined others deeply interested in the future of the Madison Rec Campus.

Kelly Williams, Madison Swim Association parent, said,"We've been working for this for so long, The kids are so discouraged."

She said he's been many false promises for children who are waiting for a new pool, but see deal after deal fall through. Right now, swim coaches say they share a pool they're grateful to have, but could really do more to tap into swimmers' potential and improve their schedules if they didn't have to work so hard to share.

That's why the rec center, for the swim community, been the subject of anticipation. For others, it's been about rumors. Council member Steve Smith addressed them, explaining his side of the rec campus.

After he was finished, the audience applauded.

"We've got support for the complex and we're going to take the next step forward," explained Smith about the significance of Monday's conversation and vote.

Council member Tommy Overcash explained that the council's hesitance to move ahead too fast isn't because they don't think the rec center is needed, or important. He said he's about needing to tread carefully to keep the deal intact, but they all support the idea of having it.

Members of the public said they still wanted to hold a public forum so they could voice their opinions.

Still, they need Madison Fieldhouse on board, and signed on, to move much further ahead.  The legwork to get the deal done isn't over yet.

Williams said Monday night gave her hope though. "I feel a sense of relief that it may actually happen before my 7th grader graduates. And that they all see the value that it will give to the community."

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