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Published: Wednesday, 2/27/2008

Recreation facilities will get upgrades if residents OK levy


Voters Tuesday will be asked to approve a 0.42-mill capital improvements levy meant to enhance to one degree or another all of the facilities of the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District.

The district is responsible for the operation of everything from major sites like the Sylvania Sports & Exposition Center at Tam-O-Shanter and Pacesetter Park, to the ball diamonds behind Sylvania schools.

George France, recreation district chairman, said the group is counting on citizens recognizing the prudent use of dollars the district has exercised in running the area's recreational facilities for the 20 years it's been in operation, and the use of those facilities by area residents.

Casey Nowicki, a co-chairman of the levy committee, said Sylvania's facilities for recreation by all residents are among the draws to the community.

Although the facilities are in pretty good shape, Centennial Terrace & Quarry has needed work for some time and other sites need upgrades.

"If you don't keep things up, they begin to deteriorate and we need to get some work done," he said.

He noted that some of the work contemplated that will be most noticeable will be at Centennial Terrace & Quarry.

Centennial Terrace was constructed in 1939 and has been the site of thousands of dances and concerts.

Plans call for installing a larger stage with exposure toward the southwest and a new dance floor. There will also be new, decorative fencing around the terrace area with needed upgrades in lighting and other utilities. The dance area will get a new entrance, and a new facility for storage, restrooms, and concessions.

The bath house and concession buildings at the swimming quarry will be repaired and remodeled and sun-shade structures will be built.

Improvements planned for the Sports and Exposition Center at Tam-O-Shanter include new parking to the west of the building and resurfacing the existing parking area. There will also be additional landscaping at the site.

If the levy passes, Pacesetter Park will get needed underground irrigation and drainage at its western 64-acre parcel.

There are also plans for improving the ball diamonds and scorer's building and additional landscaping in various areas of the sprawling park.

Plans include new playground equipment, with a shade structure there. Concession stands will be upgraded and a new one built to the southwest of the main parking, if the levy passes.

The recreation district board also has committed to building a park for skateboarders in the district.

Meetings have been held and the board will continue to listen to suggestions from skateboarders before deciding on a site and design for the proposed facility.

If the levy passes, the recreation district also intends to replace the surface of the 12 ball diamonds at area schools with a clay-based material similar to that used at Pacesetter. They also will improve the backstops at the diamonds.

Mr. France noted that it has been 14 years since the last recreation district capital improvements levy. Over that time, he noted, the population has grown and with it the use of recreational facilities in the district.

He said the campaign's slogan, "Small investment Big returns," is meant to accentuate the amount of improvements planned if the levy passes and the cost of $12.84 for the owner of a $100,000 house.

Mr. France said he has heard encouraging responses and he is unaware of any organized opposition to the levy.

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