Clinton County voters to decide Joint Recreation District levy

Would fund various parks, recreational projects

By Gary Huffenberger -

This picture is a “conceptual visual” of a proposed Clinton County Recreation & Wellness Center on Wilmington’s west side.

News Journal file image

A 3-mill, 30-year tax levy has the aim to create, maintain and improve parks and wellness projects around Clinton County, including a new 50,000 square-foot recreation and wellness facility.

If approved, the levy will generate just short of $3 million per year, according to the Clinton County Auditor’s Office.

Levy supporters describe it as an investment in the community and in residents’ health and well-being. Supporters also say the very purpose of the levy is to increase access for all Clinton Countians to participate in parks and recreational opportunities.

For a $100,000 homeowner, the levy will cost $105 a year (or $8.75 per month) in additional property tax, the auditor’s office said.

A Clinton County Recreation & Wellness Center, centrally located in Wilmington, is envisioned to include a competition lap pool, a warm water therapy pool, an ADA-compliant, zero-entry recreational pool for young children and families, an indoor walking and running track, a gymnasium, indoor basketball court, and fitness resources.

In addition to providing funds for construction and maintenance of facilities and amenities around the county, the levy will provide a substantial amount of funds needed for annual operating costs of the Recreation & Wellness Center, said Bill Peelle, co-chair of the levy campaign.

But there will have to be some modest membership fees at the recreation center, he added.

Ron Rudduck, co-chair of the levy campaign, said the membership fees should not be a barrier, and there would be help available for the economically disadvantaged.

He said it only makes sense that fees will be less compared to other recreation facilities in adjoining counties because the facility here will have the property tax support.

Four surrounding counties — Fayette, Greene, Highland, and Warren Counties — have YMCAs, with “a void in the middle” in Clinton County, said Rudduck and Peelle.

The site for the proposed Clinton County Recreation & Wellness Center is located northwest of Wilmington High School. It would be donated by landowners Larry II and Terri Roberts, who would also assist with infrastructure.

It’s been projected about 60 percent of the dollars from the levy will go toward facilities and amenities improvements made countywide, while the remaining 40 percent would go toward operations, maintenance and replacing capital assets (such as a roof).

It’s thought the improved parks and recreation opportunities in the county will help draw people who work here to choose to live here as well, improving the tax base.

The Clinton County Joint Recreational District, which is requesting the levy, hopes to create parks and recreational opportunities within a 10-minute walk or drive of all county residents.

Clinton County’s municipalities, townships, existing park systems and eligible organizations could apply for funds to support recreational projects.

There has been support for a number of years for a Blanchester pool and recreation project. Peelle said if the levy passes, he anticipates a beneficial project will develop in the Blanchester community.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Blanchester deserves to have something significant for its citizens,” said Peelle.

There are very real opportunities throughout the county, he said, pointing to nine nature-preserve type parks already in the county that could become more user-friendly with financial assistance.

Levy funds are also meant to benefit residents of smaller population centers in the county.

For example, there is an existing Richland Township Park adjacent to Sabina; Liberty Township has space at the edge of Port William; the Sabina Municipal Pool will need assistance at some point; and mayors of the villages — where resources are limited — have ideas for smaller projects, said the levy co-chairs.

Peelle said passage of the levy would increase the likelihood of a sizable donation for an equestrian-related opportunity between Wilmington and Cuba. That’s because the levy revenue would bring more capability to manage and maintain the property.

For more information on the proposed levy from those who support it, visit . The website includes answers to 40 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the levy.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

This picture is a “conceptual visual” of a proposed Clinton County Recreation & Wellness Center on Wilmington’s west side. picture is a “conceptual visual” of a proposed Clinton County Recreation & Wellness Center on Wilmington’s west side. News Journal file image
Would fund various parks, recreational projects

By Gary Huffenberger