GIRARD — Attendance Monday at the Girard City Council meeting spilled out of the council room and into the hall as around 30 people showed up to show their support for a Girard community center.

GIRARD — Attendance Monday at the Girard City Council meeting spilled out of the council room and into the hall as around 30 people showed up to show their support for a Girard community center.

“When I got here at 5:30 p.m., people were already showing up,” said Debra J. Smith, Girard city clerk.

“Many of these people are on the community center committee,” said Pat Damman, spokesman. “We brought the people here tonight to show how many people want a Girard community center. Last year we came with a big plan for a new community center, but it was kind of put on a back burner.”

He noted that around $3,000 or $4,000 had been spent on architect’s drawings for the new center.

Damman said the committee now has an alternate plan based on remodeling the old Print Excel facility now owned by Girard USD 248.

“It would cost $2.1 million to build the first community center the committee planned,” Damman said. “If we do Print Excel, we’re looking at around $1.1 million to remodel the building. We feel it’s a good position for us to be in because of the savings.”

“After we toured Print Excel, it was my understanding that a committee would be put together with the council and the school represented and to my knowledge that hasn’t happened yet,” said Maurice Harley, Girard mayor. “A previous council made a commitment not to do anything without a vote by the community. We need to get a large consensus when we start to talk to the community.”

The mayor added that the problem isn’t so much the cost of constructing or remodeling the center building, but the ongoing expense of its operation and maintenance.

“I think there are a lot of people supportive of having a center in Girard, but I think there are different camps on what a center is,” Harley said. “There are lots of discussions to be had.”

“There are a lot of economic questions that have to be answered,” council member Susan Thom said. “I feel it  will happen, but it’s premature right now.”

“We all believe we need a community center, but finances are a real big problem for me,” said council member Sharon Mattson. “I think it’s too big a chunk to bite off right now. The city has too many other things going on.”

“I am completely for a community center, but we do need to have more information,” said council member Melody Cherry. “I need to see the options and the dollars. We need to look at funding sources.”

Gary Emry, city administrator, said it was his understanding that city and school district representatives would meet soon and possibly a “memorandum of understanding” regarding a proposed community center would be ready for discussion in the near future.

The council also heard a report by Girard Police Chief Jeff McDonald, who had been asked to research the issue of allowing ATVs on city streets. The chief said he does not recommend this for safety reasons.

“These vehicles are not made to be on paved roads, they have a tendency to roll over and they don’t have safety equipment,” McDonald said. “I just don’t want to see them on the road.”

“Personal protection is a major concern,” Emry said. “I support the chief’s opinion.”

Cherry asked about the possibility of allowing golf carts on streets as a cheaper means of transportation.

“Golf carts are mostly plastic, and if there’s a collision, there is nothing to protect the driver,” McDonald said, though he added that some larger cities do build paths specifically for use by golf carts.

“I just want to make sure we exhaust all options,” she said. “Could we re-address the issue of golf carts, not ATVs?”

Harley told her that further discussion could be done.