The Violet Township trustees are expected to vote Wednesday, Jan. 23, to determine if they will request a levy to support the construction and operation of a community center be placed on the May 7 primary election ballot.

After voting unanimously Jan. 9 to request the Fairfield County Auditor's Office to certify the amount of revenue that a 4.6-mill levy would generate, the trustees now are expected to vote on a request that the Fairfield County Board of Elections place the issue on the ballot.

"This is the first of two required (resolutions) to place it on the ballot, which would need to be filed by (4 p.m. Feb. 6) to be on the May ballot," said John Eisel, Violet Township director of operations.

The Jan. 23 meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the township offices, 12970 Rustic Drive in Pickerington.

If the issue makes the ballot and is approved by voters, revenues from the levy, which township officials say would be about $5.31 million annually, would be used to build an estimated $46 million community center, as well as fund its operation.

The levy would cost homeowners $13.39 per month per $100,000 of home valuation.

The annual cost would be $160.68 per $100,000 of home valuation.

"The cost and the proposal are the same as we reported on Dec. 6," said Holly Mattei, Violet Township development director. "We are excited to move forward."

In a community forum in December, township officials unveiled conceptual plans that called for a 95,000-square-foot community center to be built on 30 acres expected to be donated by the Ricketts family at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee roads.

Plans call for the facility to include a first floor featuring two gymnasiums, a welcome desk, staff offices, a child-care area for parents who are using the facility, three multipurpose rooms and a study or "quiet" area.

A competition swimming pool and a leisure pool, as well as separate locker rooms for men and women, a universal family changing room and "team" room also would be on the first floor.

The center's second floor, as proposed, would feature a 0.1-mile track. Inside the track would be a fitness space, two exercise classrooms, a "messy arts and crafts room" and the facility's mechanical equipment.

During the Dec. 6 community meeting to unveil concept plans for the project, Mattei said the community center would be built on enough land to allow for future expansion, including outdoor aquatics.

She said the facility would serve as an "anchor" for surrounding economic development, and there also are concepts for a multipurpose path to provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the site along Refugee Road, extending west to Pizza Hut at 810 Refugee Road.

Concept plans for the community center were developed after township officials gathered public input at a meeting in May and recorded feedback from eight programming focus groups.

Additionally, a Financial Task Force consisting of 37 residents met five times, and the township was assisted by consultants from Moody Nolan Inc. and Rockmill Financial Consulting LLC.

"It's something that is truly community-driven by those groups," Mattei said during the Dec. 6 meeting.

Township officials have said of the projected $5.31 million a 4.6-mill levy would generate annually, about $3.1 million would be applied toward paying off the building in 25 years, $2 million would be used for operations and $210,000 would be used for maintenance and replacement of equipment.

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