It took a count of provisional ballots from last month’s election to affirm the result, but Lucas County voters did renew — narrowly — the property tax levy that supports Imagination Station, the science center in downtown Toledo. That’s a good outcome for this community, and especially its young people.
The result was close enough — a margin of 306 votes out of nearly 197,000 cast — that the county Board of Elections will conduct a mandatory recount this month. But assuming the vote holds, Imagination Station will have the financial support it needs to continue to offer educational opportunities in an especially enjoyable fashion.
The five-year renewal levy, which takes effect after the current millasupge expires at the end of next year, will generate $1.15 million annually, about 41 percent of the science center’s annual budget. As costs continue to rise, Imagination Station will need to continue to supplement its public funding with adequate philanthropic and corporate support.
But few science centers operate without public support. They are community amenities, like zoos, parks, and museums. The 200,000 annual visitors that Imagination Station attracts each year reflect its importance to the region.
The Imagination Station levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home about a dime a week. Still, the science center nearly fell victim to the sentiment among many local voters that any tax is too much.
Imagination Station contributes to northwest Ohio’s marketing appeal. That helps support local property values. More important, Imagination Station works with local schools, universities, and businesses to get students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
These students will become the foundation of the region’s future economy. What price tag do you place on that?