VAN WERT, Ohio (21Alive) – It's Election Day for many communities across the country, and in Van Wert, Ohio there was a $3 million question on the ballot—whether or not to build an aquatic center.
The citizens of Van Wert voted “no” to the idea of building an aquatic center Tuesday night, 57.4 percent against and 42.6 percent in favor.
Mayor Don Farmer says the aquatic center would’ve taken up about 10 acres of land near Smiley Park. Farmer says Van Wert is the only county in Ohio without a community swimming facility, and that's why he supported the idea.
"It would've brought people to our community that we haven't seen from surrounding areas. They would've spent, besides the aquatic center admission prices, as well as our community, but they buy gas, they buy food. It's an economic development issue,” said Farmer.
The aquatic center would’ve included a competitive-sized pool with two diving boards, a “spray-ground”, toddler play area, water slides, and a pavilion.
However, the big issue is taxpayers would have to foot the bill with a raise in their property taxes. The average home in Van Wert is worth $79,000 meaning those households would have to pay and additional $32.35 per year.
Kirby Kelly, Treasurer of Citizens For Financial responsibility, and who also voted against the referendum, says there are more important things to worry about.
"Friday we were just told we're having another company close up, Carter Lumber. A couple months ago it was Pick-N-Save. To put a tax on an economy that's already struggling, the citizens who are struggling, it's just not the time,” he said.
Although the Mayor is disappointed with the outcome, he says it’s time to move on to other things and will focus on the needs of the community. Kelly says he’s happy with the outcome, and in the meantime he has some other issues to tackle on his plate, as well.
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