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OUR VIEW: Mayor picks good time to lead with Rec Center dispute

It appears Avera Queen of Peace Hospital is the frontrunner to install a new athletic training program at the Mitchell Recreation Center.

This news comes after the Park and Recreation Board reversed course and voted to recommend Avera over its arch-rival, Sanford Health, which made a similar pitch to the board.

One has to be chosen over the other. Back in January, the board voted to partner with Sanford for the project, but that decision was met with a bit of concern, since Avera already has a large presence in Mitchell.

Enter Mayor Ken Tracy, who, in a strong display of public leadership, recommended Tuesday that the partnership be formed with Avera.

"The decision and the recommendation you made was very valid," he told the board. "However, there are other issues at work, and I'm sure you're well aware of that."

Those other issues include potential future partnerships with Avera, including the possibility of a joint city-hospital wellness center that has long been discussed.

We don't fault the board for making its initial recommendation. That's what they've signed on to do, and they did it.

But we're glad to see the mayor give his input. To us, that's what he has signed on to do, too.

Tracy is showing that when he has ideas and opinions, he'll let people know about them. That kind of leadership is a good trait for a mayor.

As for this ongoing battle between Avera and Sanford, it definitely is interesting to watch.

Avera already has planted its flag in Mitchell, but Sanford seems intent on making its presence felt in Mitchell and the region.

Avera has done many great things for this community and deserves to at least be represented at the front of the line when big projects are mentioned.

Sanford, too, deserves its chances, and we're sure the Sioux Falls-based organization will still find ways to increase its own presence in the region. We sincerely welcome the health giant to the community.

Meanwhile, the City Council will make the final decision about the Recreation Center program.

Again, it's been an interesting process to watch, and we're glad to see Tracy provide leadership at crucial times.

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