Fruita center hinges on absentee ballots

Unofficial election results Wednesday suggested Fruita residents will soon be swimming laps and shooting baskets in a new recreation center.

Polls closed Tuesday night with Referred Measure 2C passing by 113 votes, 2,776 to 2,663.

However, Mesa County elections officials on Wednesday reported 1,565 Mesa County ballots have not yet been counted.

How many of those ballots are from Fruita residents, or whether the election’s final results will tip the balance toward a no-go for the recreation center, remains to be determined.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Fruita Mayor Ken Henry, a supporter of the rec center.

Of the uncounted ballots, 165 were turned in without signatures or with questionable signatures; about 900 are provisional ballots; and about 500 ballots will be examined by elections officials to determine voter intent, said Sheila Reiner, elections director of Mesa County. Reiner said elections officials have begun processing those ballots, but they have until a Nov. 19 deadline to report final totals.

Some Fruita residents are on edge about the outcome of the recreation center question after a similar measure failed in a tie vote six months ago.

If it passes, the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase will fund construction and maintenance on a $12 million, 47,000-square-foot facility with two swimming pools, basketball courts, multi-purpose rooms and a senior center.

Henry said construction was initially slated for completion in about 16 months, but those plans could be expedited.


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