By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WYOMING - Dozens of residents spoke out against a proposed $20.8 million recreation complex at a public hearing that drew nearly 300 people.
Many said they couldn't afford the taxes from a 6-mill levy, which the city is considering to pay for the plan.
That levy would cost the owner of a $250,000 home - the median value in Wyoming - an extra $525 a year.
Several speakers Wednesday night pointed out that Wyoming is the only community in Hamilton County where residents pay school district income taxes and city income taxes.
"This (proposal) is not a need, this is a luxury, and we can't afford it," said Stanley Herrlinger, a retired teacher who has lived in the city 19 years.
"This levy is going to sock it to the people whose incomes are going down," he said. "I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to move out."
Don Crawford, who sits on the board of directors of Powel Crosley Jr. YMCA in Springfield Township, said that center underwent a similar expansion several years ago.
Today, he said, "Powel Crosley Y is struggling with the investment it made in the aquatic center and keeping its membership up."
Some of the more than 30 speakers questioned whether a new recreation complex would draw people to the city; others worried that the extra expense would doom the next school levy.
The recreation proposal includes $16.6 million to build a community center at the current civic center at 1 Worthington Ave., $2.4 million for a new municipal pool and $1.9 million to renovate a high school athletic field.
Some said there was a need for improvements. "I think our athletic fields are deplorable in Wyoming, and there's a shortage of adequate recreation facilities," said Rick Wickstrom.
Others said money should be spent elsewhere.
"We need street repairs," said Robert Kelly, a resident since 1978. "The streets on the west side haven't been done yet."
The next public hearing is 3 p.m. Saturday at Wyoming recreation center, 9940 Springfield Pike.
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