ELN: Another close vote undecided by end of night

The fate of a recreation center in Fruita had not been determined late Tuesday night and had the makings of another election in which every vote mattered.

As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, 112 more voters were in favor of the rec center than opposed, with the tally at 2,772 to 2,660. That number, however, didn’t include an undetermined number of outstanding votes from Fruita’s polling stations. 

A close call on Referred Measure 2C would be deja vu for voters. During an April election, a similar measure for a new recreation center failed by one vote as the election ended in a 1,262-1,262 tie.

Early Tuesday night, mail-in and early-voting ballots came in at a tie, 2,195-2,195.

Fruita Mayor Ken Henry said he’d be pleased with any kind of a victory, even if it were a few more votes in favor of the center.

“I’d call that a landslide,” he said.

Henry said if voters defeat the measure, city council members would respect that decision and not immediately put another similar measure on an upcoming ballot.

If passed, the penny-on-the-dollar sales-tax increase would fund construction, operation and maintenance of a $12 million, 47,000-square-foot center to include an indoor and outdoor pool and utilize Fruita’s existing pool on the 11-acre site on Cherry Street. Family Health West’s new hospital would bookend the northern portion of the property, and the Mesa County’s Public Library said it will build a new Fruita branch to connect to the center.

The center would boast an indoor gymnasium, basketball courts and a track lining its perimeter.  It will contain multi-use rooms and a senior center. Seniors can access the senior center for free, but they, like other members of the public, will have to pay a small fee to access other areas of the center.

A senior group has been trying for the past decade to build a center.

Arch Chaney was one Fruita voter who voted early in favor of the center.

Chaney, 69, said he was thinking of the entire community, including the outlying areas of Mack and Loma, when making his decision.

“There’s a lot of kids who need something like this,” he said. “If people voted no for this, it’s for the wrong reason.”

Justin Towers, 18, didn’t feel that way.

Towers, who voted for the first time Tuesday, said the recreation center plan didn’t include enough options for youths.

“It seemed more like a business center than a recreation center,” he said by phone Tuesday night from his job at Domino’s Pizza in Fruita. “It seemed like a place for old people to hang out.”


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