Voters in Waterville, Whitehouse, Monclova and Waterville townships, and other areas in the Anthony Wayne school district will face two funding requests for the complex on the Aug. 3 ballot. A 0.55-mill bond issue would raise $5.55 million over 23 years to construct the project, and a 0.45-mill, 10-year operating levy would collect money to staff the athletic park.
Together, the two issues would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $31 annually in additional taxes, said Cal Whewell, chair of the Anthony Wayne Area Joint Recreation District. The recreation district, commonly referred to as AWARD, is proposing the complex, which would be called AWARD Family Park.
Par Ricketts, who is on the 11-member recreation district board and leads the Citizens for AWARD Committee, said about 20 volunteers are organizing for the levy campaign. Volunteers will visit council and trustee meetings in the voting areas and
ask residents to host information sessions about the levies.
"We're trying to get out in the neighborhoods," Mr. Ricketts said. "We want to explain to the younger, newer families in our area what AWARD is all about."
The AWARD Family Park would include 10 soccer fields, nine baseball and softball fields, eight T-ball fields, five tennis courts, and three youth baseball fields. The park would also have rest rooms and concessions.
Voters defeated requests to fund the athletic complex in 2002, with 55 percent of votes opposing the levies. There was no organized group campaigning against the levies before the 2002 election, but some residents expressed concerns that the new park would create traffic nuisances and duplicate baseball fields.
The recreation district surveyed residents shortly after the 2002 election and identified several main objections to the project, Mr. Ricketts said.
"We heard loud and clear that people were looking for family-oriented activities that were not necessarily sports-related," he said. "We believe the water park and walking trails show a greater value to families."
The $900,000 water park would include a water slide and canal that visitors could float down in inner tubes. The playground, which would be built by volunteers, would require about $150,000 of materials.
Another common complaint two years ago was that voters did not want to fund the purchase of land already owned by a a public entity. The AWARD Family Park would be on 205 acres south of State Rt. 64 and east of Providence Street that belong to Lucas County. County commissioners agreed last year to sell the area for $1,000 an acre to the Toledo Area Metroparks, which owns the nearby Blue Creek Conservation Area.
"We feel pretty good about the project we put together," Mr. Whewell said. "If it's not successful in August, we'll be back on the ballot again."