AVON — If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
That’s the mantra being embraced by officials in Avon who are hopeful that this November, residents will approve an extension of a tax that failed to gain voter approval in 2013.
But first, they want the input of voters.
“We’re really hoping people turn out at the upcoming open houses to weigh in on this, tell us what they would like to see or what they would vote for,” said Mayor Rich Carroll.
Open houses are set for Wednesday, as well as one on July 23 and two on July 26.
EXTEND OR INCREASE?
If approved, the tax would pay for a bond which would fund recreational improvements to Harry A. Nottingham Park and the town’s recreation center field house.
The estimated cost for all improvements is $10.85 million, and would include an expansion of the rec center, additional parking, an outdoor learning facility for children and restroom renovations at Nottingham Park.
When the tax extension was shot down in 2013, it was technically a tax increase, as the plan was to extend the existing tax set to drop off and add a little extra.
Councilman Dave Dantas says this time around, he’d like to see a simple extension, rather than an increase.
“I think we should limit the tax to the same tax that’s expiring; we shouldn’t go any higher than that,” Dantas said. “I think that’s the only way it will pass.”
The 32,700-square-foot expansion of the Avon Recreation Center would provide for an indoor sports and multi-use community center to include additional space for activities such as basketball, volleyball, yoga and fitness, increased area for cardio and weight training and increased space for events such as birthday parties, according to the town.
The rec center expansion would also include an ice rink on the west side of the space, which could convert into a summer activities center when the ice rink is not in use.
During the recent Salute to the USA party in Nottingham Park, the rec center parking lot was used for a kids zone area that contained bouncy castles, music, arts and crafts and a dunk tank. Town Manager Virginia Egger said the space being used for those activities is a perfect example of how the multi-use ice rink would convert to usable space in the summer.
TOWN COUNCIL WANTS TO HEAR FROM THE COMMUNITY
But the Avon Town Council isn’t as convinced on the necessity of the ice rink/summer activities center, with that part of the plan being the major point of contention.
“At (the open houses), we want people to prioritize what they like and what they don’t like,” Carroll said. “I’m still having a hard time getting my head around the ice rink. But people can say, ‘Here’s what’s really important.’”
Councilman Jake Wolf said there must be a way to make Nottingham Lake skateable in lieu of building an ice rink at the recreation center.
“Let’s use Nottingham Lake as the amenity,” Wolf said. “If we can gather the data before it goes to ballot ... that would be awesome.”