Upper Arlington voters easily pass issue in support of community center
Upper Arlington will get a community center.
On May 4, voters approved Issue 2, an "advisory question" asking, "Should the city build a new community center?"
With all 31 precincts reporting, the count was 7,570 votes (79.89%) in favor of the issue to 1,906 (20.11%) against it, according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections after the polls closed May 4.
The result means city officials can proceed with plans to issue $55 million in bonds for the construction of a 95,300-square-foot community center at Kingsdale.
The project can be included as Continental Real Estate Cos. moves forward with plans to construct three buildings at the former Macy's site. As proposed, the project also will house 458 apartments, 104 senior-housing units, 6,000 square feet for restaurants and a 2-story parking garage.
City officials have said no income taxes or property taxes would be raised to fund construction of the community center.
City Manager Steve Schoeny has said the $55 million bond would provide funding for any contingency expenses above the estimated construction costs.
Schoeny has said the bulk of the debt incurred from the project would be paid with about $1.6 million in annual revenues that would be generated for 30 years from tax-increment-financing deals with Continental for the Macy's redevelopment, as well as two previously established funds.
Through those arrangements, which also have been approved by Upper Arlington Schools, developers pay money that otherwise would go to the school district via property taxes. The city may use money from TIF funds for "public infrastructure improvements."
According to city officials, the remainder of the debt will be paid by a combination of funding streams that will include an estimated $500,000 in annual bed-tax revenue from two hotels in Upper Arlington, along with $5.42 million that could be raised through naming rights and other donations and an estimated $450,000 in yearly income-tax revenue expected to be generated from the redeveloped site.
That would leave the city's cash contribution about $8.8 million, which a 16-member Community Center Feasibility Task Force appointed by City Council said could be funded with a portion of its "rainy day" fund.
Another $264,512 could be raised annually, the task force estimated, by leasing office space on the sixth and seventh floors of the center. That money would be above what the task force had estimated would be needed to service the construction debt.