Survey shows Northwood residents want multi-use community center

Kelly J. Kaczala

        About 400 Northwood residents last month filled out an online survey on the city’s website to help determine what programs and activities the public would like to see in the new community center that will be constructed at the site of the former Woodville Mall.
        The center will be part of the $7 million Enclave project, a multi-use development comprised of small businesses, a restaurant, senior living facilities, residential subdivisions, and the construction of a Main Street.
        Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would visit a community center daily or weekly.
The top six indoor facility amenities survey participants wished they had access to, according to the results, were:
        •running/walking track;
        •fitness/exercise facility;
        •cultural/learning activities and programs;
        •multi-use athletic fields;
        •senior activities/programming;
        •basketball/volleyball courts.
        Glenn Grisdale, of Reveille LTD,  Bowling Green, the city’s economic development advisor, said there were no surprises in the survey.
        “We had a park and recreation survey done a few years ago. This new survey just reaffirms what folks told us in the earlier survey. Folks want to see a multi-use function for the facility,” he said.
        Ninety-percent of respondents said they were either unsure or would consider passing a levy to help fund upkeep costs associated with the community center if the facility was developed with programs they desired. Unlike other communities in Wood County, Northwood currently has no levies or additional taxes except for a 1.5 percent income tax.
        “We got $1 million from the state to build the community center,” said City Administrator Bob Anderson. “Now we have to figure out where the rest of the money is going to come from to maintain it.”
        Grisdale said people tend to support a levy “if they see a return on their investment.”
        “Folks in Northwood are very pragmatic,” said Grisdale. “They’re not afraid of allocating resources if they see a return on their investment. I do believe they feel if Northwood is going to be the community it can be, it will need to attract young families, young adults, young professionals. These folks are attracted by a higher quality of life that is supported by these type of facilities.”
        Broken down, 68 percent of survey participants were female, and 32 percent were male. Ninety-one percent of respondents have between two to five persons living in their households.
         By age groups, people 35-44 comprised 31 percent of respondents, the largest percentage. People 55-64 comprised 22 percent; 45-54, 18 percent; 25-34, 15 percent; 65-74, 10 percent, 24 and younger, 3 percent; and 75 and older, 1 percent.
        Among the comments in the survey: “I hope it’s a wonderful center for families! I can’t wait to see it done. I would vote yes on a levy if the center was beneficial to the community. Right now it’s hard to know what it will be like to commit to a `yes.” Another respondent stated, “Ice hockey would be excellent!! Many people have to drive across town or out of town for ice time.” And another comment, “Very glad the city is thinking of some quality of life issues!”
        The city is making progress and moving forward with the Enclave, said Grisdale.
        Council recently accepted the bid of $3.9 million from Vernon Nagle, Inc., for construction of the main East-West roadway
        “We brought the contractor on board. He’ll be moving some dirt at the end of this month for the Main Street,” he said.
        “On Monday, we closed with Huntington Bank on a one year note for $4.6 million at a very good interest rate. Our goal is we’ll roll the note into a new bond, along with the additional development costs. It will cover the construction of Main Street, all the public amenities – water, sewer, storm, sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, brick pavers, landscaping, and park benches.” 
        The city has an architectural team that will help frame in the square footage requirement of the community center that will then define the cost of the project. “We should have that in about six weeks,” he said.
        The city’s target date to open the new center is December, 2022, he said.
        “Construction will start next spring,” he added.


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