Ruth Milligan learned to swim at the Olympic Swim Club in Clintonville. Her kids grew up swimming there, too, until it closed in 2014.

Soon thereafter, Milligan set out to rally neighborhood and institutional support for a recreation center in Clintonville.

Five years later, she's still hopeful -- maybe even optimistic -- that it will happen.

Progress on one potential path to that end has come at a snail's pace. A little over a year ago, the YMCA of Central Ohio completed a feasibility study concerning development of 27 acres of state-owned land on the northeast corner of the Ohio School for the Deaf property, just south of the Indian Hollow neighborhood off Center Woods Drive.

Clintonville Area Commission District 9 representative B.J. White held a public meeting at the time to try to keep the lines of communication on the subject open between officials and residents.

Since then, White said, it's been "radio silence."

White said she has not "been on the receiving end of any correspondence from the (YMCA) or the group of Clintonville residents lobbying for this site to be developed" since a survey was sent to residents by the YMCA in February 2019.

Milligan said residents lobbied the state for two years to even allow them to consider the site, then worked with the YMCA for two more years until the YMCA conducted its study.

"I never thought it would go fast," she said. "I see this as a legacy project for future generations. We're in year five of this project. It's OK to be patient."

Lou Maynus, superintendent of the School of the Deaf and School for the Blind, has in the past advocated the placement of a recreation center on the site, telling The Columbus Dispatch in a statement in 2018, "We are clearly in favor of it being located on this site in partnership with us."

Maynus said she has no updates today, though she added, "I find the idea of a YMCA located here on our campus as both interesting and compelling."

Tina Badurina, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Central Ohio, said the organization is considering its options.

"The feasibility study results showed a lower number of households than anticipated," she said. "This factor is important in helping us determine whether or not a YMCA could successfully sustain operations.

"We continue to evaluate the opportunity to have a YMCA in Clintonville but, at this time, have not made any final decisions," Badurina said.

Milligan said she continues to hope the site will remain on the YMCA's priority list.

"I don't know what we'll do if they decline," she said, "but there's no deadline, and they haven't told us no."

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