Thursday, May 20, 2004

Trustees back Y partnership

Deerfield Twp. could be site of $11 million rec center

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - Plans to build an $11 million satellite of the Ralph J. Stolle Countryside Y here are closer to reality after township trustees agreed to pursue the recreational partnership.

Trustees voted 2-1 Tuesday night to approve a modified letter of intent from the Lebanon recreational center, which will operate the satellite center. The letter is not a formal contract, but is the first official vote to show that Deerfield Township trustees are supporting the idea.

Trustee Lee Speidel voted against the proposal, saying he did not think that Countryside Y was providing enough of the funding. Countryside is expected to pay for about $5 million, with Symmes and Deerfield townships dividing the rest. Speidel said that if Countryside were to fund at least $8 million, he would reconsider the partnership.

"This is just the first of many steps," Countryside president Steve Boland said. "There's a long way to go."

The 80,000-square-foot center is going to be built on more than half the 27-acre property that Deerfield owns between the between the Meijer store and Steeplechase apartments on Montgomery Road.

Many residents in Symmes and Deerfield townships have said they like the idea of having a YMCA so close to home. But several have expressed concerns about using their tax dollars to fund the proposal.

"I see it as the cr╦me de la cr╦me of park projects," Deerfield Trustee Barbara Wilkens Reed said.

Deerfield trustees, who are eyeing seven different funding options, made only a few minor changes to the letter, including one that says that if Countryside raises more than $2.5 million during its fund-raising campaign, the center's base rent will go up by that difference.

More significantly, trustees established Nov. 15 as the day to verify all funding commitments. Trustee Randy Kuvin said it would be "difficult if not impossible" to fund the Y if Symmes does not pass a levy.

Symmes has until June 1 to decide if it will put a levy on the November ballot. Trustees will hold the first of two public hearings at 7 p.m. today at Symmes Elementary School on Enyart Road to hear whether residents want a YMCA and are willing to pay for it.

Sheila McLaughlin contributed to this report. E-mail

Lunken to get longer runway
Big-city mayors use clout for Kerry
County seeks to reunite kids
Arizona governor objects to Fernald waste shipments
Hassles, then tassels

City panhandling law renewed for 2 years
Levy renewal vote on Monday
Teachers union satisfied with fact-finder's report
Trustee critical of road financing
Trustees back Y partnership
Session with golf pros is free
Gun found in house where man was killed
Third man guilty in drug runner's death
Norwood studies swapping students
Foes of Norwood levy organize 'no' campaign
Ohio 747 widening begins in June
Iraqi baby with neck growth to be treated in Columbus
House Republicans delay vote on bill
Ohioans forced from homes by floodwater
Explicit blog by Sen. DeWine staffer shocks
Council releases West End money
Public safety briefs
Classroom briefs
News briefs
Neighbors briefs

Crowley: Even the losers win awards for this campaign
Bronson: Posse arrests just a dent in area's crime
Good Things Happening

Emily Frank Adler, 93, teacher, arts supporter
Edward Lenney retired, returned to work as principal

Clooney rallies in hometown
Man arrested in death of infant
Boone spending plan ready
Corbin man plans to walk to N.H.
Tainted gasoline traced to Marathon
Expanded curriculum at tech college bears fruit
Ground broken for elementary
Villa Hills votes to hire part-time administrator
Ky. news briefs