As election day approaches, the big-ticket local items voters will see on the ballot Tuesday are a renewal of a 1-cent sales tax and a bond referendum to build a swimming pool.
A Family Y telephone poll of Columbia County residents released during a public meeting last week showed support for a proposed $18 million bond referendum to build an aquatic and tennis center.
The poll, conducted by Triangle2 Research and Development Group, showed that 63 percent of the 499 respondents said they supported plans for the facility. About 19 percent said they were unsure about the center.
Nearly 82 percent of those polled said they supported the partnership between Columbia County and the Family Y, according to a news release by the Family Y.
The group was hired by the Family Y to randomly call and check community interest about the center planned as part of the Gateway Project on Lewiston Road near Interstate 20.
The Family Y could potentially partner with the county in its operation of the aquatic and tennis center.
On Tuesday, Columbia County voters will decide whether they approve the center.
If passed, the project would be funded by a general obligation bond. A county resident owning property valued at $100,000 would pay approximately $20 more in property taxes for 12 years to 15 years.
"If this facility is passed by the voters, it will be built by the people of Columbia County and for the people of Columbia County," Deputy County Administrator Scott Johnson said.
More than half of those who responded said the proposed location is convenient, according to the release.
At the meeting, officials discussed the center's purpose, which includes year-round swimming, the addition of swim teams, water aerobics, and swimming safety lessons for third-grade pupils.
The 54-acre campus would have a system of connecting trails, picnic areas and bridges and possibly a YMCA.
An indoor competition and instructional pool and an outdoor leisure pool area would be considered.
"This is the revenue generator," Johnson said about the outdoor water features. "That will be the biggest draw to bring people to the aquatic center."
The poll's results showed that 65 percent of those responding also wanted a water park at the facility.
The 12- to 16-court tennis center would have bleacher-style seating.
The aquatics and tennis center would take 18 to 24 months to build, officials said, and at the earliest, would be finished by 2011.
Also at the meeting, officials discussed the $180 million special purpose local option sales tax that would be used for numerous capital improvement projects in Columbia County.
Proposed sales tax projects include $13.4 million for an Evans Justice Center expansion, more than $10 million for expansions at the Columbia County Detention Center, about $20.2 million for debt retirement, more than $54 million for transportation projects, more than $16 million for stormwater and sewer improvements, about $14 million for recreation endeavors and nearly $11 million for emergency services.
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