Clintonville Area Commission District 9 representative B.J. White said Oct. 31 it could be several weeks before a feasibility study by the YMCA on a possible recreation center on 27 acres of state-owned property is completed.
White also said she feels the wishes of the 15 families who live adjacent to the site in Clintonville's Indian Hollow neighborhood should have their concerns taken into account in any decision to move forward.
"I'm still processing the newness of the information," she said.
The site lies between the Ohio School for the Deaf and the Ohio State School for the Blind, part of about 240 acres encompassing both campuses north of Morse Road between North High Street and Indianola Avenue.
"The community brought us this question after the neighborhood pool closed; we are now ready to look at it strategically, not just conceptually," Lou Maynus, superintendent of the School for the Deaf and interim superintendent of the School for the Blind, said in a statement. "We are clearly in favor of it being located on this site in partnership with us."
Maynus was referring to the Olympic Swim Club on Indianola Avenue, which closed in 2014 after 76 years.
The study will be performed through YMCA resources and partners, said Brian Kridler, who serves as the Y's chief operating officer and senior vice president of strategic advancement. He did not have a cost estimate.
Maynus invited neighbors to the school Oct. 28 to discuss the proposal and said about 25 people attended.
Among those who attended was Stan Bialczak of Center Woods Drive. The 29-year resident of the neighborhood said he was concerned the meeting was restricted to neighbors whose homes abut the property.
He also expressed concern that school officials did not pinpoint who had asked for the center or whether the land might be sold or leased, and wondered whether open space at the properties' southeastern corner would be better-suited.
"We just want it the way it is," he said of the northeastern corner. "In the middle of the city, you have this oasis of 27 acres."
"I think it's perfectly natural to say, 'Hey, not in my backyard,' because it is literally in their backyards," White said. "We've got to give careful consideration to those 15 neighbors to ensure any discussion includes them and their opinion is listened to and valued every step of the way."
By the same token, White, in whose district the potential rec center site would be located, said she feels many in the area would support the proposal.
Maynus said reaction from neighbors was across the spectrum.
She said whether the land would be leased or conveyed is up in the air, and Kridler said he couldn't speculate whether the Y would build or operate the facility.
The area being studied is accessible only from Indianola Avenue and is near the Bill Moose Run ravine. Bialczak said it is home to foxes, deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife.
White said she expects the CAC will learn more about the proposal in December.
"I don't know that the CAC necessarily will have much to do with that, being that it's state land," she said. "It may not require a zoning variance. I think it's going to be more or less a legislative act rather than it being an area commission."
ThisWeek staff writer Kevin Parks contributed to this story.