TROY — The residents of Troy will have a new 10-year, 1.2-mills property tax levy for Paul G. Duke Park improvements to consider on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The levy will appear on the ballot as Issue 26.
If passed, the levy would generate $676,000 per year for the proposed park improvements only. The cost of the levy of a $100,000 home would be $39.60 a year, or $3.30 a month.
The total cost for the proposed park improvements is around $12 million, which includes city funding of two-thirds of the project and one-third funded by Troy residents through the levy. If passed, the city plans to spend $5 million of the project from the city’s general fund, $3 million to be financed by municipal bonds and the remaining $4 million to be funded by the proposed property tax levy.
The proposed additions to Duke Park include five lighted baseball and softball fields and two T-Ball fields, an 18-hole miniature golf course, three soccer fields and a splash pad. Other proposed components include a new park maintenance building and concession/storage areas in the central part of Duke Park. The soccer fields and another park entrance would be added to the south. Approximately 500 new parking spaces also would be added as well as two new park entrances.
“The funds generated by the levy are only estimated to cover one-third of the total estimated costs,” said city og Troy Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington. “The remainder of the funds will be city general funds. Detailed cost estimates have not been generated, as those estimates require detailed design, which is an expense we would not bear until after the results of the November ballot.”
Titterington provided “rough estimates” of the overall $12 million of proposed additions to Duke Park:
• The northern part, new ballfields, a new entrance and parking is estimated at $9-$10 million;
• The central part, including parking, splashpad, minigolf, concessions and park maintenance building, is estimated at $1-$1.5 million.
• The southern part, including parking, soccer fields, and new entrance is estimated at $1-$1.5 million.
The northern portion of the park was part of the former Huelskamp Farm. The city purchased the farm, which initially included 117.2 acres and the homestead for $1.5 million. The purchase price was offset by grants including $600,000 by thE Duke and Robinson foundations. The Miami County Park District acquired 40 acres along the Great Miami River for preservation with a $288,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In April 2019, the former Huelskamp homestead, located on 1.447 acres, including a house and several barns on the property, was listed for sale for no less than $250,000 by bid. According to Titterington, the city has not received any bids for the property. He also said the city is unable to secure a real estate agent and may need the Community Improvement Corporation to facilitate the sale of the property.
If the levy issue is passed, Titterington said park improvement projects could begin in 2021 following design, engineering and business plans.
Titterington said if the levy is approved, the proposed improvements would utilize 55 out of 74 acres, which is currently in agriculture crop production.
KNOOP FIELD COMPLEX
Part of the proposed improvements includes moving Troy Junior Baseball’s games from Knoop Field located at Eldean and County Road 25-A to the Duke Park facilities. Organization officials have stated they’ve exhausted their resources after continual flooding of the fields from the Great Miami River of the last several years.
Titterington said, “a policy for new fields hasn’t been established yet, but will probably be similar to the current policy. That is, fields would be unlocked unless there are special circumstances. Of course, all fields for all sports are scheduled through the (city’s) Recreation Department, so open field use is secondary in priority to a team or game that has been scheduled.”
Titterington, who said the city does not have any formal lease with Troy Junior Baseball pending the outcome of the levy, said, “Whether we do or not has yet to be determined.”
OPERATION RECREATION 2020
The Duke Park field improvements was once part of a larger effort to improve recreation in the city of Troy. The Operation Recreation 2020 levy was a proposed 10-year, 0.25 percent earned income tax to raise $25.7 million for expansion plans at Paul G. Duke Park, the golf course clubhouse renovation and driving range, upgrades to the facility at the Troy Senior Citizens Center and to add a $10 million second ice rink at Hobart Arena.
In May 2017, voters defeated the levy by 63 percent against the levy versus 37 percent for the levy. In November 2016, the first proposal of another property tax levy was withdrawn by city council the day before the general election. An error in the placement of a decimal point in the ballot language was discovered prior to the general election and would have collected at a lower rate if approved by the voters.
This spring, the city completed a new clubhouse at the golf course for a total of $1.7 million from general funds.