The deadline for people to register to vote in the May 7 primary election is approaching, and the polling places for three voting precincts have been relocated in Pickerington and Violet Township.

On May 7, voters in Pickerington and Violet Township will decide the fate of Issue 2, a 4.6-mill, 25-year parks and recreation levy that would provide funding for the construction of a 95,000-square-foot community center at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee roads. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 7.

According to Fairfield County Board of Elections deputy director Brett Riffle, the deadline to register to vote in the election is Monday, April 8.

Residents may register at the Fairfield County Board of Elections' office, 951 Liberty Drive, Lancaster, and at local Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices, libraries or online.

"Really, the best way to do it is at myohiovote.com," Riffle said. "As long as you have a driver's license or state-issued ID, you can register at that site or update addresses."

The polling locations for three precincts have been changed.

Those who live in the Pickerington City M precinct, which has been using Pickfair Square as its polling location, will now vote at the Pickerington Senior Citizen Center, 150 Hereford Drive.

"It's a single-precinct location," Riffle said of the Pickfair Square site. "We're taking a cost-savings move, and we're consolidating that precinct to a location that already has precincts in it.

"That will do away with our only single-precinct voting location in the county."

Additionally, Violet O and R precincts are being relocated from the Violet Township Administrative Building to Violet Baptist Church, 8345 Blacklick-Eastern Road.

"We can't use that building anymore because the township is in the process of selling it," Riffle said. "We are moving those precincts to Violet Baptist Church."

In all three cases, Riffle said, the precincts are being permanently relocated.

He said voters should have received postcards from the board of elections notifying them of the changes.

Additionally, voters can go to fairfieldelections.com and click on the "For Voters" tab to find their polling locations.

Early and absentee voting will begin Tuesday, April 9.

"We will have in-person, absentee voting in our office, and April 9 is the day we will begin sending out all the requested absentee ballots.

"People also can request (absentee ballots) after that date. All of the information is on our website."

Given that it's a primary election and there are no countywide candidates or issues on the ballot, board of elections officials said they are projecting turnout May 7 to be about 20 percent across the county.

"I believe the Violet Township issue will bring out more voters than anywhere around the county," Riffle said. "There are 84 of 90 precincts that will be active in the county."

Proposed tax issue

The Violet Township trustees voted unanimously Feb. 6 to place the community-center levy on the May ballot.

If approved, Issue 2 will provide funding to build the estimated $46 million facility and provide money to operate it for 25 years.

According to township officials, the levy would cost homeowners about $161 annually per $100,000 of "total appraised value" of their land and residences as determined by the Fairfield County Auditor's Office.

Information on the township's economic-development website, investwithviolet.com, states the median home value in Violet Township is $200,800.

The annual tax costs for the community center on a residence valued at that amount would be $323.29

If voters approve the levy, the community center will be built on 30 acres to be donated by the Ricketts family.

Conceptual plans call for the facility to include 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 on its first floor.

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

The 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.

The levy is expected to generate approximately $5.31 million annually.

Of that annual amount, about $3.1 million would be applied toward paying off the building in 25 years and $2 million would be used for operations.

About $210,000 generated by the levy per year could be used for maintenance and replacement of equipment.

Additionally, Violet Township and Pickerington residents would pay $75 for an annual membership.

Those prices would rise to $128 for a family of two, $169 for a family of three and $195 for a family of four or more.

Military veterans living in the community would receive a 10 percent discount on annual fees, and senior citizens 65 and older would not be required to pay a membership fee.

Township development director Holly Mattei said those fees, at least in the first year, should generate about $1 million to offset community-center operational costs.

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