By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Grove City councilman Roby Schottke is tired of waiting for a community recreation center. He decided to propose an idea to city leaders to get a conversation started.
“We need to make this a priority,” said Schottke.
During a special council meeting in February, Schottke proposed building a recreation and aquatics center at the new Pinnacle Park.
According to the councilman, the city purchased the land several years ago. The property is 36 acres in size and a recreation center would use about six acres of that land.
“People ask about a recreation center all the time,” said Schottke. “We already own the land, and we have the Pinnacle TIF to help pay for the structure.”
When presenting his proposal to city leaders, Schottke used data from a 2014 study commissioned by the city’s parks and recreation department. According to the proposal, it would cost an estimated $40 million to build a recreation center and about $2 million to operate it annually.
“We have about $8 million available in the Pinnacle TIF fund and that TIF generates about $2 million a year,” said Schottke.
The councilman had ideas for covering the operating costs of a recreation center. He said the city could increase the income tax by a half a percent, which would only affect income earned in Grove City. Schottke said this would generate about $8 million a year. He believes membership to the center should be free to city residents.
“Citizens pay enough taxes,” he said. “It should be free.”
Schottke did say there would likely be program fees and rental fees that would also generate revenue.
City leaders have discussed the idea of a recreation center for years. Kim Conrad, the city’s parks and recreation director said she has had discussions with Schottke, and she anticipates more conversation with council and the community in the near future. However, she noted that there are no concrete plans at this time.
Schottke said he plans to share his recreation center proposal with the park board, and he wants feedback from the community.
“I believe in the synergy of the group,” he said.
Schottke also said he would like the city to start hosting town hall meetings on the topic.