Van Wert Contemplates Aquatic Center On November Ballot

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 5:40 PM EDT

VAN WERT, Ohio (21ALIVE) --- When it gets hot next summer, will the city of Van Wert Ohio have a refreshing aquatic center for people to lounge in, or do residents think the cost is simply too high?

It's an issue that will be put to a vote of city taxpayers on November 5th.

Republican Mayor Don Farmer believes the promise of user fees and tourism dollars will more than justify the cost of building the complex.

But opponents say it's too much burden to put on the backs of taxpayers.

A "yes" vote on the November 5th ballot would allow construction of a new competition swimming pool, splash pad, and other water attractions across from Van Wert's largest public park.

Those against the effort have put up signs around town, arguing that the $3-million price tag, to be picked up by city property taxpayers over the next 25 years, is too much to ask.

Van Wert has been trying to lure a major manufacturer to a large chunk of land on the outskirts of town.

" If we knew like the megasite would develop 1,000 jobs it'd be one thing. We have no guarantee that we're going to have jobs," said Kirby Kelly, who is spearheading the “no” campaign.

" We've done our homework on it. We visited other areas, we know what they have done, what they haven't done, what we should do. So, we feel we've done all that homework and now it is entirely up to the voters," said Mayor Farmer.

One of the areas Van Wert looked to in planning the aquatic center is the city of New Haven, where Jury Pool was renovated into a larger water attraction, drawing thousands of new visitors for summertime entertainment.

Unlike New Haven, Van Wert needs a majority vote of its citizens to go ahead with its project.

We’ll know November 5th whether supporters or opponents will be celebrating.

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