new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School for grades K-5 will be built
if the Gemini Project passes Feb. 8. (Drawing courtesy of Architectual
hopeful Gemini will pass
By Kevin Kelley
Published Feb. 2, 2005
With just days
to go before the Feb. 8 election, city leaders expressed optimism
the $50 million Gemini Project will be approved by voters.
Fairview Park residents will decide on two bond issues. Issue 1
is a proposed .5 percent increase in the city income tax to fund
construction and operation of a new 87,000 square-foot recreation
center to be built just east of the public library.
will include a competition-sized pool and basketball and volleyball
courts which will be reserved for use first by the high school and
middle school during the school day but be available to the public
at other times. Other features of the center which the public will
always have access to include aerobics rooms, weight rooms and a
running track. Annual membership fees for the rec center will be
no more than $100 for an individual and $240 for a family, city
classroom in the propsoed new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School
would be 30 by 30 feet. The entire school, which would include
a full-sized gymnasium, could accommodate 882 students. (Drawing
courtesy of Architectual Vision Group).
Issue 3 is a
4.9-mill capital improvement levy by the school district to pay
for a new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School, which would house kindergarten
through grade five. Grade six will move to Mayer Middle School,
which will receive a $3.6 million two-story, 17,000-square-foot
addition. The high school would also see extensive renovations.
The city would take control of the high school athletic field and
replace the grass with state-of-the art artificial turf.
district levy would cost a homeowner $12.51 a month per $100,000
valuation of property.
Both bond issues,
which run for 25 years, must pass for the Gemini Project to move
Patton told West Life she is very optimistic the issues will pass.
"This has generated a lot of hopes and excitement throughout the
city," she sid.
co-chair Bob Kreps also said he expects Gemini to pass handily.
His optimism is based on the number of pro-Gemini signs, turnout
at public meetings and the response of people he has spoken with.
"The more people
know about this, the more they like it," Kreps said.
who are reflexively opposed to more taxes came around to supporting
Gemini after learning about it, he said.
If the Gemini
issues fail, don't expect to see them again on the May or November
ballot. Kreps has said Gemini is a one-shot deal.
Under the Gemini Program, a new recreation center (A), to be
utilized by both the school and public members, would be built
just east of the library. The city's Recreation Department would
take control of the high school athletic field (B), renovate
the stands and replace the grass with state-of-the-art artificial
turf. A $3.6 million two-story, 17,000-square-foot addition
(C) would be added to Mayer Middel School. Numerous renovations
would be made to Fairview High School (D). (Drawing courtesy
of Architectual Vision Group).
Kreps said the
Gemini Project is the only solution to the trap of either raising
taxes or cutting services that many fully-developed suburbs like
Fairview Park find themselves in. He also noted Issue 1's tax increase
applies only to earned income, not income from Social Security,
pensions, interest or dividends.
Gemini would be a wise use of taxpayers' money.
"If the property
value in Fairview Park goes up by one-sixth of one percent per year
more than it would without the project, then the tax money you paid
is returned to you in your property value," Kreps said. "Conversely
the opposite is also true. If we don't do this, and as a result
we have school facilities that are in need of a great deal of repair,
and the absence of a rec center, and those factors slow the appreciation
of your property by one-sixth of one percent per year, in effect
you've paid for this project but you don't have it."
Residents will have two more opportunities to question city and
school leaders about the Gemini Project. Public meetings will be
held in the community room at City Hall tomorrow evening at 7 and
Saturday morning at 10. Backers of the Gemini Project have held
public meetings to inform the public about the ballot issue every
Thursday evening since early December. More information is online