And that means the 1950s era armory will have to come down. It seemed apparent that Johnson's only big question was: Why had it taken so long in the first place? Johnson, for his part, had used the armory's gym as a student and had thought it was a pretty old structure even then.
With the future demise of the armory, the eventual dismantling of the "Bubble" and a host of other changes, the whole area will be transformed by the time the rec center is finished.
It will also usher in a major step forward in the amenities available in South Davis. Johnson noted that it could benefit the lives of area residents for generations.
So it's quite natural that Johnson felt pride in what is now going to be accomplished. Johnson said his faith in the project's outcome had never wavered -- but it was clear he had to endure a pitched battle by opponents shortly before the public vote.
Even after the vote, opponents still challenged the accuracy of the information that had been given voters --and charged that voters were erroneously informed that the school board had agreed to fund a portion of the project in return for a joint-use gymnasium.
We've talked with both sides at length about these allegations and frankly the situation is a little complicated to explain. In general terms, there had been no formal agreement signed between the rec center proponents and the school board at the time of the vote. But lower echelons within the school district administration had been contacted, were in favor of the project and had planned on seeking the school board's eventual approval.
That's why the school board's endorsement of the new gym a few weeks ago was so vital. It removed a potential cloud hanging over the project, even though most of the rec center could have been built without the school board's participation.
It's our view, however, that many hurdles have been crossed since the project was first proposed and that it's best now to bury the hatchet and unite around the public's vote.
The project isn't perfect, and it's simultaneously too barebones for some and too lavish for others. Now that the project is definitely heading toward reality, we believe it would be best to take pride in the benefits the new center will bring.
It also says something about how we view ourselves: That we are willing to make some sacrifices to enhance our quality of life and benefit generations yet to come. It won't necessarily be easy to pay extra taxes for the rec center, but children yet unborn may one day be thankful we made the effort.