Rec expansion up to Avon voters

AVON — Voters in November will have the final say on a $12 million plan to expand the town’s rec center, council members decided Tuesday.

The Avon Town Council approved an intergovernmental agreement to begin formulating a ballot question for the Nov. 5 election, with a deadline of Sept. 6 to certify the language.

That language will detail a plan that asks voters to continue an existing property tax which is set to drop off in 2014 in exchange for a $7.7 million expansion of the town’s rec center and about $5 million in other improvements to town recreational facilities. The plan would have the extension of the tax stay in effect for another 30 years in order to pay off the $12.56 million bond. The cost to residential properties owners would be an additional $2.31 per month on a home worth $300,000; commercial property owners would pay an additional $9.17 on a $300,000 property.

According to the plan in its current form, the expansion of the rec center would block out $3.725 million for a gymnasium and multi-purpose space; $2.786 million for a base building that could include expanded fitness and cardio space and a possible indoor playground; $658,500 for a climbing wall; $278,310 for a meeting room; and $248,989 for a yoga or similar activity space.

The remaining $5 million or so would go toward other recreational improvements. It has to, actually, said Virginia Egger, town manager.

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“What’s proposed in a bond issue can be only for recreational facilities. Law in bonding does not allow other things like street improvements into a bond issue,” Egger said.

Parking lot

But it can and will include a parking lot.

“The expansion of the Recreation Center is planned for the east side of the existing building, in the east Recreation Center lot, which would result in a net reduction in parking spaces of approximately 56 spaces, depending on the final design,” reads a parking analysis which was presented to the council by town staff. “A total of 76 spaces will be required to replace lost parking spaces and the recreation center expansion.”

A reconfiguration of the current parking layout, presented Tuesday by town engineer Justin Hildreth, could yield an additional 119 spaces for $1.45 million.

In addition to the parking question, about $3.5 million in other recreation improvements was also proposed at Tuesday’s meeting. Those improvements would be administered to the playground and irrigation ditch, ice rink, pumphouse, upper-field turf, showers, water slide, heat recovery and the Nottingham Park restroom.

“The restroom needs to be replaced as soon as it can,” said Mayor Rich Carroll.

But nothing in particular, save the fact that Avon is indeed planning to put some questions regarding a recreational improvements bond to the voters, is certain until the language is finalized.

But, as mail ballots go out to voters in 62 days, “Time is of the essence,” Egger said.

Despite having approved the intergovernmental agreement, the town can still opt out of going through with the ballot question, as long as they do so before Aug. 27.

They said up until then, they’re encouraging feedback from potential voters.

“We’re behind the eight ball in getting community feedback” Carroll said.

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