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May 12, 2013

Voters approve YMCA, streets, Perkins

GREENVILLE — Proposition 2 was one of the more contentious issues before Greenville voters in recent memory, pitting local government organizations, non-profits, and many of Greenville’s most prominent citizens excited about the possibility of building a flagship project against residents who disagreed with increasing property taxes to pay for the YMCA/event center.

In the end, Greenville voters sent a strong message of support for the $15 million project, as well as a $12 million road bond to rebuild nine local streets. Voters welcomed back a city council member while electing a new face to the council, and passed dozens of amendments to the city’s governing document.

— The issuance of $15 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the construction of a YMCA/event center facility passed by a vote of 934 ballots for (52.86 percent) to 833 votes against (47.14 percent). The proposition was failing in the early vote totals, but 60 percent of the ballots on election day went toward approving bonds for the YMCA.

YMCA of Greenville-Hunt County CEO/Executive Director Kelly Gaudreau expressed his gratitude to the voters once the final numbers came in shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday.

“I think it is a great thing for our city, for our kids and I think it is a great thing for our future,” Gaudreau said. “I think this is very exciting for Greenville and for our community.”

The facility will be owned by the City of Greenville and leased to and operated by the YMCA or other public or private entity as a commercial activity community events/recreation center. The facility would be located in the Greenville SportsPark on Monty Stratton Parkway. If approved by voters, organizers of the project say they have received commitments from several entities toward the cost of the facility which could reduce the potential tax burden. Dr. Jerry Ransom has agreed to donate $1 million through 10 annual installments of $100,000 each.

— Voters were also in favor of the issuance of $12.6 million in bonds for street improvements, by a tally of 1,247 votes for (71.58 percent) to 495 votes against (28.42 percent). The bond proposition called for rebuilding Stonewall Street between Mockingbird Lane and the Interstate 30 frontage road, Sayle Street between Kari Lane and the frontage road, and Webb Street between Sayle and Wesley Streets during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Stonewall Street from Park to Stanford and Wellington Street from Joe Ramsey to Lee Street would be rebuilt during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Ridgecrest Boulevard from Canton to Sayle Streets, Morgan and Bourland Streets north and west of Carver Elementary School and Live Oak Street from Bonham to Nashville would be rebuilt during the 2015-2026 fiscal year.

— Place 1 City Council member Dan Perkins won a second term, receiving 456 votes (53.96 percent) to defeat Tyson Cox, who received 389 votes (46.04 percent). James Evans was unopposed in winning the Place 2 seat on the Council.

— All 30 proposed amendments to the City of Greenville Charter passed by wide margins Saturday night.

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