NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city will not be moving forward with aquatic center, with the bond issue failing Tuesday.
Unofficial results reported the levy, which had asked residents to approve a 0.45-mill, 20-year bond to raise $5 million for the center failed, 55 percent to 45 percent.
Mayor David Gillock said he was disappointed in the results and surprised at the gap it lost by.
“It wasn’t a huge surprise it failed, I am surprised it failed by 10 points,” he said. “I thought it would be much closer than that.”
Gillock said the city is working on its budget this week and will have to sit down and discuss the results, including breaking it down by precinct to see where the margin of voters for or against were. He said the city will look at whether residents living in areas with Home Owner Association-provided pools swayed the vote. That analysis could dictate if the city tries to put the issue on the ballot again.
The center would have been across from South Central Park and has been an a major item on the North Ridgeville Parks and Recreation Department’s wish list after focusing on improvements to its current infrastructure since 2013, director Kevin Fougerousse said.
In light of voters going against Issue 31, Fougerousse said the department will continue to focus on updating its infrastructure while looking toward bigger capital projects.
“So we’ll still keep doing what we’re doing in regards to updating our parks and what we have, but moving toward bigger projects and obviously we’ll have to regroup as far as the aquatic center,” Fougerousse said.
He said the committee and department can’t hang its heads, and said he thought the group did well and will move on.
“It could have gone either way for obvious reasons, but we didn’t have a feeling whether good or bad,” Fougerousse said. “You’re always hoping for the best, you’re always looking for a positive outcome, but we get it, we live in a democracy for a reason.”
Residents had requested a year-round recreation center similar to what Avon has, but Mayor David Gillock said recreation centers are rarely self-sustaining, prompting the city to go with the aquatic center proposal. A full recreation center would have to be subsidized from the general fund, Gillock said, while the aquatic center would have been estimated to generate about $50,000 a year in revenue, according to a 2017 done by Brandstetter Carroll Inc.
The center would have included a 25-meter lap pool, plunge pool, zero-depth entry activity pool, lazy river, two slides, and interactive elements similar to what is in the city’s splash pad. It would have been open from roughly Memorial Day to Labor Day, with passes open to city residents. Passes for a family of four or more would have cost roughly $227 with individual passes priced at $85 and youth passes at $60.
“That’s too bad, I know we had a good group that worked really hard on it,” Gillock said. “It wasn’t a very expensive project to the average homeowner. It was one of the things that was highly requested on our surveys, so we were optimistic, but it is hard to pass levies. But we’ll take a look at it and see where we go from there.”
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