If they had a dollar for every minute they're willing to wait, backers of what might eventually be touted as a $4 million bond issue could go ahead and start expansion of the popular Alta Canyon Recreational Center.

The center's board of directors voted last week to hold off until after the new year is almost dead and gone before pushing for another ballot on the issue.Voters defeated a $3.5 million bond issue in the fall of 1992, and proponents had planned to revive it in a special February 1994 election. But the financial times being what they are, directors decided this month to wait until November.

Nancy Shay, executive director of the center, said the city already has reached its 1994 $10-million cap on bonded indebtedness. Issues that drive the total above that amount lose their tax deductiblity for the lender.

Rising construction costs and a yearlong delay in marketing the bonds also would have caused problems had voters approved the issue in February.

Shay said the original cost of the project, estimated a year and a half ago, has jumped already by about $460,000. That's a common occurrence in a booming construction market where demand for work exceeds the supply of contractors.

Center directors have approached Sandy and Salt Lake County in an effort to gain financial backing from other sources, and they plan an aggressive campaign to pass a bond issue on the next try.

"This is a partial solution to help with the youth crime problem, keeping kids more active and starting them with different interests when they're younger so they'll steer clear of undesirable activities when they don't have enough to do."

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Supporters will note, too, that a recreation-center daytime program that keeps youngsters from becoming "latchkey kids" is growing in popularity. As schools in the area go to year-round schedules with frequent two-week breaks, working parents need a safe place for their children to spend free time, said Shay.

The defeated bond proposal would not have raised taxes but would have extended the center's property-tax levy of $75 per household an additional 12 years until 2008.

Boosters said it would have passed if they'd done a better job of educating the public and if an election-day foul-up hadn't allowed some ineligible voters to cast ballots. The center, with about 2,500 members, is funded largely by property taxes from the Alta Canyon Recreational District, which roughly encompasses the southeast quadrant of Sandy.

In addition to property-tax revenues, the center is supported by membership fees. Households pay $120 annually for a family mem-ber-ship.

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