Building Community, the Merriam Way


City Council on Monday voted to allow Merriam residents to determine the future of recreation in our community.

All registered voters within Merriam city limits will receive a ballot in the mail in late August. You will vote on whether the City should issue $24 million in bonds and approve a 10-year quarter-cent sales tax to help pay for a new community center, which would be built at Vavra Park.

The new, 66,000 square foot community center would include amenities such as an indoor walking/jogging track, indoor/outdoor pools, a full-sized gym, and child watch among other features.

It will replace the current 100+ year-old Irene B. French Community Center and 30+ year-old Merriam Aquatic Center.

What This Means to You  

The entire project is expected to cost $30 million. Of that, $24 million would come from bonds and $6 million would be paid through money already budgeted in the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

The quarter-cent sales tax helps cover the debt service on the bonds to pay for the new community center. So, if you bought $100 in groceries, you’d pay an additional 25 cents sales tax.

Using sales tax revenues means Merriam residents pay less. That’s because about $0.82 of every dollar collected comes from people outside of our community. You’ll get the benefit of a $30 million new community center for the price tag of about $5.4 million, or about $48 a person per year for 10 years.

Please Vote!

The Johnson County Election Office will mail out ballots on Aug. 25, 2017. The Election Office must receive all ballots by NOON on Sept. 15, 2017, to be counted in the official election results. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Friday, Aug. 25. Additional information about voting and filling out the ballot can be found at

A YES vote means:

  • The City will issue $24 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the New Community Center. The remaining project balance of $6 million will be paid for through money already budgeted in the City’s CIP.
  • A new one-quarter percent sales tax will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2018, for 10 years to cover the debt service on the bonds.
  • The new facility will be built at Vavra Park.

Please continue to check our Frequently Asked Questions section at We want to make sure you are educated when you vote.

What Will Happen to Our Current Facilities if it Passes?

The City will conduct a community process to determine the Irene B. French Community Center’s future. Several ideas have already been discussed, including the construction of an amphitheater or destination playground. Honoring our history and the legacy of the building is a priority for the City, as is our presence in downtown.

Visit for more information about this mail-in vote.


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