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Attorneys to examine papers for Medina rec center expansion

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    Medina City Council joined the Medina School Board Monday night at Medina High School to discuss the Medina Community Recreation Center’s proposed addition. Here, Council President John Coyne, left, is making a point about the joint operation agreement between the school district and the city.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Before any progress can be made on the Medina Community Recreation Center’s possible expansion, it was decided Monday that the joint operating agreement and ground lease would have to be examined by attorneys to see if the addition is even allowable.

The Medina Board of Education hosted Medina Council at its work session at the high school.

Nothing will happen until the city’s law director and the board’s legal counsel pore over the documents.

However, Bob Arnold, the project’s consultant, said time is of the essence.

“We’re going to lose our construction window,” he said.

The two entities have to reach an agreement because the school district owns the building, and the city operates the facility. Both sides would have to sign off on the addition, even though rec center Director Mike Wright said it will be funded with carryover funds, which are funds left over in the budget from the previous year.

He said there is about $2.1 million currently in the fund.

Wright hopes to add a 4,836-square-foot fitness center, which would house functional training equipment, such as kettlebells, free weights, climbing ropes and suspension trainers.

“We don’t call it CrossFit,” he said previously. “That’s a brand name.”

He said the cost for the building will be about $626,000, plus about $100,000 for the equipment.

Wright said the biggest reason he wants to add on to the rec center that was built in 2003 is to retain membership.

“My fear is if we don’t move forward with this, we’ll lose some patronage,” Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson said.

Another fear is the condition of the center’s roof. It needs to be replaced at a cost of $1.4 million, Wright said.

There is about $1.2 million in the capital reserve account — each side kicks in $100,000 a year — but if it is used for the roof the fund will be depleted.

One possibility would be to repair the roof in stages, part of it now and perhaps part of it next year.

School board member Ron Ross, a former member of the Medina Rec Center Advisory Board, asked if the building isn’t up to standard, “Why even think about expansion?”

During the meeting concerns were also raised about the advisory board, which has given its go-ahead for the $750,000 project.

Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields, also the school district’s human resources officer, said there was no problem with the makeup of the advisory board, which is made up of two city representatives, two school district reps and three at-large members.

After approval from the advisory board, the project would then go to both Council and the school board for approval.

Medina Superintendent Aaron Sable asked that Wright make a presentation on the expansion to the school board in the near future.

He’s also concerned about how much the schools use the rec center compared to how much they are paying for it. Sable said usage in the facility is down considerably districtwide, yet the schools are paying 52.5 percent of the costs, compared to the city’s 47.5 percent.

“We might want to expand usage of the rec center,” he said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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