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Hamiltonban says ‘no’ to recreational district

Richard D. L. Fulton

(3/4) A second municipality has declined to continue to become a part of a proposed "southwestern Adams County joint recreational district," while a third approved "joining."

Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors voted down a motion to adopt an ordinance at their February 28 work session that would have allowed the municipality to proceed to enter into an agreement with other proposed member communities and the area school district to establish the pooled recreation resource proposal.

The proposed ordinance was sacked in a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Robert Gordon and Coleen Reamer the only two members who voted to adopt the ordinance. Voting against were supervisors LuAnn Dille, Edward Deardorff, and Douglas Woerner.

Deardorff stated he felt the residents should have a right to vote on the proposal through a ballot referendum.

The Carroll Valley Borough Council failed to even obtain a motion at their February 11 meeting that would have enacted a similar ordinance that would have paved the way for such an agreement to be established.

That the issue should be settled by having the residents vote on it as a referendum was also brought up at that council meeting, to which Councilman Neil Abrams pointed out in response that in a republic, elected officials are elected to make those kind of decision. "This is not a democracy," he noted.

In the meantime, Fairfield Borough approved an ordinance at their February 25 meeting to proceed with entering into a mutual agreement if and when such is formally proposed.

In addition to the three municipalities noted above, the proposal also calls for the inclusion of the Fairfield Area School District, who has been supportive of the proposed "southwestern Adams County joint recreational district."

The school district has also approved the agreement and signed it, according to a district representative.

Liberty Township had been mentioned in the past as a possible partner, but had never formally adjoined the effort.

The proposed recreation district was the product of a study conducted by representatives of Hamiltonban Township, Carroll Valley and Fairfield boroughs, and the Fairfield Area School District, which examined the recreational assets of the various governing bodies involved.

The purpose of the joint-study was to evaluate how the participating municipalities and school district could jointly share those assets in a regional manner, as well as the costs of maintaining such a district. The study listed a number of "needs" that the district, once established, could fulfill for area residents.

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