Replacement recreation levy to be placed on November ballot

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 18, 2002

The future of Ironton’s parks and recreation facilities will once again be

in the voters’ hands when a replacement recreation levy is placed on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

At the recommendation of the auditor’s office and Recreation Board Director Darrell Fry, The Ironton City Council adopted a resolution sponsoring a replacement levy on the ballot.

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A recreation levy has been used since the 1940s and must be renewed every five years. The replacement levy is the same as the previous ones and will not cost taxpayers any additional money, Fry said.

The current levy runs through 2002 but those funds aren’t collected until 2003. Putting the levy on the ballot now is a way to give the city a couple of chances to get it passed and not risk losing funding for a year, he said.

"We wanted to get it on this year so we could have time to get it on again next year if necessary and not lose collections," he said.

The levy comes out of residential and commercial property taxes and generates about $45,000 annually to maintain the city’s parks and recreation facilities. It is the primary source of funding for the recreation board on which Fry is the only full time employee.

It will be ran as a replacement levy because the percentage collected depreciates over the five years. A replacement levy will allow for the amount to reset itself.

Voters have always passed the levy before, although sometimes on the second try.

"It is important to remember that we have never had the money to make drastic improvements," he said. "It is a maintenance type levy to maintain these parks."

Upcoming projects the levy will help finance along with possible grants include the construction of McPherson Avenue Park,

repairing the Ironton Municipal Pool, adding playground facilities to many of the existing parks and upgrading handicap accessibility.

The board currently maintains about six parks including the Beechwood Park, Eighth Street Park and Irontrails Park.

Doug Ratliff lives across the street from the Eighth Street Park and uses it often. He said he will vote for the replacement levy.

"I would love to see a jungle gym and a new rim," he said. "Darrell Fry does a good job but just doesn’t have the funds."

Fry said Ironton is fortunate to have a public recreation department and the necessary parks for a safe place to relax. Parks and recreation speak well for the community and is often looked at by industry before locating to a community.

Any campaign for the levy must be through a political action committee and no funds from the existing levy or general funds can be used, Fry said.

Carolyn Carter, chairman of the recreation board, will head

up the campaign and is optimistic it will pass this year.

"We never had any problems before," she said. "People want the safety and betterment of their parks for the children."

Anyone interested in making donations or volunteering can call the board office at 532-6224. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune