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Parks/rec. surveys folks about community center



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February 19, 2014 - How do Oxford residents feel about the possibility of funding and building a community center?

The Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department wants to know.

That's why residents are being encouraged to visit the department's website www.oxparkrec.org and participate in an 11-question survey that will remain on-line until March 31.

For those folks who don't have access to the internet, paper copies are available at the parks and rec. office, located at 20 W. Burdick St. in the village municipal complex.

"It's just to get the flavor of the community and see what (people are) saying," said Parks Director Ron Davis. "Is there enough interest to proceed? And if there is, what do people want to see incorporated in our community center if it were to happen."

"Our goal is to get that information, compile it, then take it to the township board," he added.

If there is public support to proceed, Davis said a community center proposal could "hopefully" appear on the November ballot.

Placement of such a question on the ballot would require the township board's approval. Even though the township Parks and Recreation Commission is an elected board, it does not have the authority to place an issue on the ballot.

Among the survey's questions are "Do you feel there is a need for a family/senior community recreation center in Oxford Township?" and "Would you and/or your family use a full service family/senior community recreation center?"

Those who answer 'yes' are then asked to rate the type of amenities this center could have such as a pool and water features, multi-activity gymnasium, indoor running/walking track, fitness and wellness center, senior lifestyle center, multipurpose community rooms and computer lab.

There's a spot for participants to write in other recreation needs they feel could be met by a community center.

The survey also touches on the potential funding source for such a center with this question:

"The current 1.65-mill property tax that is being used to pay off the bond debt associated with the previous construction of the Oxford Public Library and Oxford fire stations expires with the December 2015 township tax collection.

"Once it expires, would you support replacing it with a voter-approved property tax of 1.65 mills or less to construct a new family/senior community recreation center?"

"We just want to get a true sense of what people are thinking," Davis said.

Survey participants are also asked questions about the parks and recreation department such as how often they use recreation programs and parks or attend special events.

The survey offers residents an opportunity to rate the value of the parks and recreation department when it comes to things such as helping to reduce crime, increasing property values, improving health, making Oxford a more desirable place to live, strengthening families and community, and preserving the environment.

A demographic component is included in the survey with questions regarding the number of adults and children in a household, whether the participant lives in the township, village or elsewhere, and how many years they've lived in the community.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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