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Recreation levy up for renewal

Ironton voters will decide the fate of the city's parks and recreation facilities when they vote on the replacement recreation levy on the Nov. 5

ballot.

A recreation levy has been used to fund the city's recreation offerings since the 1940s. State law requires it to be renewed every 5 years, Darrell Fry, recreation board director, said.

The current levy expires in 2002, but those funds aren't collected until 2003. Under state law, this is the first opportunity to put it on the ballot. By putting it on now, the city has two chances to pass the levy without the risk of losing funding for a year, Fry said.

"Ironton has every reason to be extremely proud of the city's recreation and athletic support," he said. "For a town this size, it is unique to have a full-time recreation board and provide quality recreation opportunities for children."

The half-mil replacement levy is the same as it has been since its inception, and will not cost taxpayers any additional money. The levy is funded by residential and commercial property taxes. It costs taxpayers 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

For example, if a home is valued at $35,000 for tax purposes, the tax would be for $4.59 a year. If a home is valued at $70,000, a tax of $10.72 would be levied.

The levy generates about $45,000 annually and is the primary source of funding for the recreation board. Fry is the only full-time employee, but maintenance costs use most of the funds.

Fry said the recreation board has

worked closely with the school systems to keep the parks clean.

It was ran as a replacement levy because the percentage collected depreciates during the 5-year lifespan. A replacement will allow for the amount to reset itself to the full half mil, Fry said.

In the past, voters have always passed the levy, although sometimes on the second try.

"The city would suffer greatly if the levy would go down," he said. "You would not believe the perpetual cleanup to keep the parks looking good."

The recreation board currently maintains six parks, including Beechwood Park, Eighth Street Park, Irontrails Park, Etna Park and two baseball fields on Delaware Street.

Projects the levy could help fund 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.

Fry said the city will also continue to pursue grant monies.

"We will see what is on the horizon that could be secured for park renovations and improvements," he said.