Olentangy Valley News

Township ready to put rec center to voters

Committee working out design, location for center, hopes voters allow it in November


Orange Township leaders want to make sure a decade's worth of planning for a community center doesn't go to waste.

The township's community center planning committee held an open house earlier this week to answer questions and hear from residents about plans for a center. A similar meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 17 at the Orange Township Hall, 1680 E. Orange Road.

Voters will decide in November whether or not to approve a bond issue to fund the community center, whose design and location remain undetermined.

The 89,000-square-foot recreation center, to be designed by Meyers and Associates Architecture, is estimated to cost $20 million.

The township has discussed for years the possibility of having a community center within its borders. Based on residents' response to various surveys over the years, the township's Community Center Planning Committee is finishing design plans for the possible center to adhere to residents' requests.

"This idea has been going for 10 years," said Len Fisher, planning committee member and former park board member. "What they said is what is going in it."

The center is slated to have swimming pools, basketball courts, a climbing wall, cardio equipment, free weights and an indoor track.

The design also will include space for art classes, such as pottery or painting, and banquet halls.

Fisher said it is time residents have a space in the township for community purposes.

"Right now, Orange Township residents go to places like Westerville Recreation Center and Dublin Recreation Center, which are farther away than we like," Fisher said.

The planning committee still is discussing potential locations, including Lewis Center Road east of the railroad tracks, Fisher said.

The committee is working quickly so residents can put the discussion to an end in November, he said.

"Progress is moving really fast. It is my feeling that the vast majority of people wants the rec center and wants it to become reality in fact," Fisher said. "I was on the park board for eight years and this is something we've been talking about and planning.

"It's pretty exciting for me."