Some Yellow Springs residents say voters should decide, in the November election, whether taxpayer dollars should be used to fund a proposed business park in the village.
Community Resources, the non-profit organization that initiated plans for the business park about 15 years ago, estimated federal, state and local governments have contributed more than $1 million and another $1 million is needed to complete the project.
Several residents at Monday’s village council meeting voiced opposition to using public funds for the Center for Business and Education before the council passed a resolution, 3-2, authorizing the village manager to retain bond counsel and solicit construction bids.
Chrissy Cruz, a 53-year-old village resident, is opposed to the village funding the project and is working with a small coalition of people to put the issue in front of voters on the ballot in the fall. The proposed business park is located near Antioch University Midwest on the northwestern corner of East Enon and Dayton-Yellow Springs roads,
“It was amazing to me how many people were thrilled that we were doing something instead of just letting them push this through,” Cruz said.
The group will need to get signatures from 10 percent of village residents who voted in the last election in order to get the issue on the ballot. The petition must be filed with the village clerk during the 30-day period before the resolution goes into effect, according to state law.
“We were very supportive of this thing as a community,” Cruz said. “To continue to point out that we are trying to impede economic growth is a total fallacy. We live and love here. We want to see this community grow. But we don’t think this is the right way to do it.”
Councilwoman Marianne MacQueen said she is opposed to putting the issue on the ballot..
“I don’t think the village will be served by having it on a referendum,” she said. “…. Whether a referendum wins or loses, I don’t feel the village wins in that process.”
Alisa Meier, a 45-year-old resident, said the residents should be able to vote on the issue.
“In a town such as this, you just don’t try to move things through without citizen approval,” she said.
Yellow Springs Village Council President Karen Wintrow and Councilman Brian Housh said they supported putting the issue to a referendum.
Ellen Hoover, a Millworks Development co-owner, is one of more than 40 people who attended Monday’s meeting. She urged the council to fund the project.
“It has been supported by many councils prior to this,” she said. “I’m asking you to do it because you need to do something folks. It’s been 16 years.”