Now that Reynoldsburg voters have agreed to hike in the city income tax -- which goes into effect July 1 -- city officials are proceeding with plans for a community recreation center.

Development Director Dan Havener said the process to hire an architect already has begun.

"We received nine replies from local architectural design groups and narrowed it down to three," he said. "We will meet with them the week of May 22 to determine who we want to commit to and get under contract a couple of weeks after that."

He said the timeline includes a six- to eight-month process for completing construction documents. Site construction could begin in early 2018, he said.

"We will work with the architectural firm on selecting a construction manager because we want one on board early in the process to get their input on the design and different elements," Havener said.

"We are looking at probably an 18-month time frame for construction of the community center."

Construction will be paid for through bonds, starting with a preliminary $1.5 million, 30-year bond.

Construction costs are expected to be between $20 million and $25 million.

Havener said the community center will be built in partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio, which will operate the city-owned facility and pay for staffing, programming and maintenance through membership fees.

The city won't get any portion of the fees charged for membership, he said, but the community will "finally have a recreation center."

City tax history

Before last week, residents had not approved an income tax increase since 1983.

Building the center was contingent on passage of Issue 11, which Reynoldsburg voters approved May 2. It raises the city income tax from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

"It was a long road to get here and it feels pretty good." Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud said.

McCloud said proponents' attempts to engage the community in planning a recreation center may have convinced more people to vote in favor of the tax issue.

"We will be able to build a recreation center that can benefit toddlers to senior citizens and tangibly impact every individual in Reynoldsburg," he said.

Bill Sampson, Reynoldsburg's public service director, said the new facility will be built on 10 acres at the north end of Huber Park.

The 52,000-square-foot, two-story building is expected to have a full gymnasium, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and parking for 300 vehicles.

Sampson said there would be additional space in the building for potential tenants -- about 8,000 square feet.

"We are very excited about this project and our goal is to get the design and development work started this summer," he said.

Other benefits

Parks and Recreation Department Director Donna Bauman said the tax issue will produce other benefits.

"Now that the tax issue has passed, we will also have funds for making improvements to the parks, such as the Pine Quarry bridges. We could finally get those replaced."

She said other improvements also could be made at the city's parks and at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center.

By the numbers

City Auditor Richard Harris said the higher tax rate will generate an additional $6.5 million per year in revenue.

Residents who live and work in Reynoldsburg will be affected the most; they will see a $100 increase per $10,000 in income, according to Harris.

Residents who live in Reynoldsburg but work in another city will see an increase only if that city has an income tax rate of less than 2.5 percent, Harris said.

People who live in Reynoldsburg and work in Columbus are already paying 2.5 percent, so they will see no increase, he said. The tax increase also will not affect anyone who is retired or unemployed.

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