Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rec center vote may wait until November '05

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A residents' vote on the $33-million community and recreation center doesn't appear to be on the fast track after all.

Last week, Trustee Catherine Stoker had proposed rescinding a July vote to build the mega-center - and present voters with a downsized facility in the spring - to avoid waiting until a November 2005 referendum on the facility.

But Stoker withdrew discussion of her plan from Tuesday's agenda, saying she needed more information "weighing the costs against the benefits."

Trustee George Lang said Tuesday he would not support canceling the November 2005 vote and looking for an alternative.

Lang said a residents' vote in spring suggested by Stoker on a scaled-back community center would not be binding - and therefore subject to another referendum.

The township also would have to pay for any special election, he said.

Stoker's idea "reeks of costs and complexities, and I don't like it," Lang said. "We've been waiting for 10 years on a community center, so let's get this done right."

Trustees devoted the first half of this year to reviewing concepts and financial projections for what would be the largest community center in Greater Cincinnati owned and operated by a local government. The 171,000-square-foot facility would have an indoor leisure pool; a competitive pool; and basketball and racquetball courts, among other facilities.

After the July vote, opponents gathered more than 2,000 signatures on referendum petitions. Because of a miscalculation by township officials, the petitions arrived too late to make the November ballot, and the referendum was placed on the November 2005 ballot.


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