Putnam Valley voters to decide on proposed rec center

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PUTNAM VALLEY -

Voters are set to decide this week the fate of a controversial proposed recreation center in Putnam Valley.

The 14,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, $3.8 million center would include a full-size gym, offices and classrooms where kids and adults could take classes on anything from painting to pottery and yoga.

"I'm looking forward to it," says Sarah Antonette. "I hope they do programs for the kids."

But not everyone in the town of about 11,000 is on board.

"If we're going to spend $3.8 million, let's build a highway garage," says community activist Patty Villanova. She's leading an effort to have the center voted down, mainly because she believes residents should not be forced to pay the extra $24 a year in taxes for it.

"The money could be better spent," she adds. "The town has more needs. We don't need recreation."

Town Supervisor Sam Oliverio says the controversy comes down to the added $24 a year for residents. He insists that people should ignore those opposed to the plan because he believes a center of this caliber will serve the community in many ways for years to come.

"When a dime is spent on quality-of-life issues, this individual says, 'stop, don't do that," Oliverio says. "This is a necessity. It's not a want. It's something that is desperately needed."

Polls open at 6 a.m. Thursday and close at 9 p.m. If the proposal passes, the center could open by next September.

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