Voters in Violet Township on Tuesday, May 7, were overwhelmingly defeating a tax issue that would have paid for the construction and operation of a community center.
With all 32 precincts counted, according to unofficial results from the Fairfield County Board of Elections at 11:30 p.m., the 4.6-mill, 25-year parks-and-recreation levy was trailing with 6,575 votes against the levy to 1,461 votes for it, or 82% to 18%.
Violet Township officials had a plan and land lined up for the construction of a 95,000-square-foot community center.
But as it turned out, they didn’t have support from the residents, who would have footed the bill for the construction of the estimated $46 million facility and the roughly $2 million a year it would have cost to operate.
The nearly 5-to-1 vote deficit was enough for Violet Township officials to concede before the remainder of votes were tallied.
In doing so, Violet Township trustee Melissa Wilde thanked the committee that supported the levy, Citizens for a Better Violet, for its campaign.
“These are neighbors I had the opportunity to meet during the planning process,” Wilde said. “These were neighbors I volunteered with over the years. They have been an inspiration.”
When asked if the township planned to bring another community-center levy forward in November or some time in the future, Wilde said she could support such action but didn’t know if fellow trustees Darrin Monhollen or Terry Dunlap would.
She said she believed the committee was committed to the project and could petition the township to put another levy on the ballot.
“We believe strong communities can change the world,” Wilde said. “We believe Violet Township is worth investing in. I believe the committee will be taking this on. They are committed to this project.”
Had it passed, Issue 2 would have cost homeowners about $161 annually per $100,000 of appraised property value of their land and residences as determined by the Fairfield County Auditor's Office.
At that price, the township had conceptual plans to build a community center featuring two gymnasiums, a welcome desk, staff offices, a child-care area for parents using the facility, three multipurpose rooms and a study or "quiet" area on its first floor.
Those designs also showed 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 have featured 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 facility would have been built on 30 acres of land donated by the Ricketts family at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee roads.
The donation of that land, however, was contingent upon Issue 2 passing.