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KEARNS VOTERS REJECT $7.5 MILLION BOND ISSUE TO EXPAND FITNESS CENTER

SHARE KEARNS VOTERS REJECT $7.5 MILLION BOND ISSUE TO EXPAND FITNESS CENTER

Residents have rejected a $7.5 million bond to expand the Oquirrh Park Fitness Center, 5624 S. 4800 West, by 53 votes.

The proposal failed during balloting on Tuesday. The tally was 404-457, said David Howick, director of Salt Lake County Service Area No. 1. The center serves areas of West Jordan, Kearns, Oquirrh and West Valley City.Bond opponent Darlene Cole, Kearns, said she was pleased with the vote. She said that some residents in the area felt they weren't adequately informed about the election, they were worried about the tax increase on senior citizens and that research by residents showed that the building could be expanded for a smaller price tag.

She said that the bond election defeat wasn't a vote against children in the area. She said she still supports expansion of the recreation center, perhaps at a slower pace.

"I want the seniors to live as well as the children," she said.

"I call it the butter and cheese election," said Howick, who noted the election coincided with the handout of U.S. government commodities of surplus butter and cheese. A large number of senior citizens involved in that program were bused in to vote. Howick credited their votes with defeating the measure.

Howick said he was disappointed because the bond election follows 21/2 years of work by a volunteer group that planned for the expansion.

The $7.5 million could have helped build several new facilities at the site including an ice rink, outdoor pool complex, indoor track, racquetball courts and gym. The bond was expected to cost $48 a year for the owner of a $48,000 home. During the election, residents were asked to rank their preference for facilities.

Howick said the defeat doesn't change the service area's bid to the Utah Sports Authority for an uncovered speed-skating oval.

Janice Snider, chairwoman of the Kearns Town Council and supporter of the bond election, believed that many voters received incorrect information about the election and that many voted based on "personal issues," but wouldn't elaborate. She also said she believed there was ample opportunity to learn about the proposal from mailers and public meetings.

"I think people voted on the information and disinformation they received about what it would do to their pocketbook," she said.