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Published: Wednesday, 1/30/2008

Campaign for Sylvania rec levy begins

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Building on some word play with "four" and "for," the campaign has been launched for the Sylvania Recreation District's capital improvements levy.

"Vote yes! 4 Recreation" will be the message promoted by the Committee for Sylvania Recreation, and it should be easy for voters to remember not only the issue number, but the election date too.

The Sylvania Recreation District's capital improvements levy will appear as Issue No. 4 on the March 4 ballot, noted George France, chairman of the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District.

The campaign slogan is "Small investment Big Results," and during a presentation to Sylvania City Council last week, Mr. France outlined the improvements planned if voters approve the 20-year bond issue. The 0.42-mill levy, if approved, would generate nearly $9 million for improvements across the park district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $12.84 annually.

The recreation district, which includes the city of Sylvania, Sylvania Township, and Sylvania Schools, draws hundreds of thousands of people to its facilities annually. In 2007, attendance at Sylvania Pacesetter Park was 312,800; Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter, 150,000, and Centennial Terrace & Quarry, 31,500.

If the levy is approved, a concession-restroom building would be constructed to the southwest of the main parking lot at Pacesetter Park. A new concession building and patio would be added to the existing restroom building near the Pacesetter Boulevard entrance.

Other improvements would include installation of an irrigation system, a walking and jogging path, landscaping, playground equipment, a shade structure, and updated signs.

Planned improvements at Sylvania Sports & Exposition Center at Tam-O-Shanter include a new parking lot and additional landscaping.

Mr. France also outlined proposed improvements to the Centennial Terrace & Quarry. The facility, constructed in 1939, was owned by Lucas County and leased in 1993 to the city of Sylvania. It has been operated by Sylvania Recreation since 1994 under an agreement with the city of Sylvania. The facilities were purchased last year by the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District from the county for $1, and Mr. France said "we're very pleased about that."

A new larger stage with exposure to the southwest - to keep the fossils in the quarry awake at night, Mr. France joked - would be built, and a new 9,500 square foot, polished concrete dance floor would be installed.

Mr. France acknowledged that the terrace's terrazzo floor is beautiful, but it's buckling and unsafe. Some of the terrazzo might be saved and used to create a walkway, he said.

Other improvements include: replace asphalt pavement surrounding the dance floor with a new concrete surface; relocate existing gazebos to the southwest corner of the terrace area; construct new concession, restroom, and storage facility in the southeast corner of the terrace area; construct a new entrance to the terrace area; remodel the bath house and concession buildings, and install new decorative fencing and additional lighting.

Some people say the place looks like a barricaded facility, Mr. France said, and the improvements are designed to change that image.

Mr. France said many people do not realize that the recreation district is partners with Sylvania Schools. Capital projects at Sylvania Schools' sites would include improvements to the 17 baseball diamonds and backstops.

Construction of a skate park is proposed as well. Skateboarding, Mr. France said, is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and it's a sport that is not going to go away or fade.

Mr. France asked council for an endorsement of the capital improvements levy.

A resolution of endorsement will be drawn up for council's consideration at its meeting Monday night.



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