The fun was over before it started.
A Hickory Ridge village boardvote will probably derail a Columbia Association study of a "fun center" next to the village's new shopping center. The proposed center, opposed by neighboring residents, would have had up to nine batting cages and a 36-hole miniature golf course.
"In the past year I have only heard negative feedback on it," said board member Phil Berman, who voted against the project Monday night. The vote was 4-0, with one abstention.
Board Chairman Mike Rethman abstained, saying he favored putting the question on the ballot in the April 25 village election. The board could then decide with a clearer idea of where the entire village stood on the question, he told about 45 Clemens West residents who attended the board meeting.
Residents of the year-old neighborhood, which now has 107 homes, had not yet moved in when the board first considered the issue. About three years ago, the board asked the association to study the feasibility of a recreation facility on three acres of the village center.
"I'm hoping that this is a dead issue for a long, long time," said Shelley Laub, who helped organize her neighbors against the center. "I wouldn't recommend that it be built anywhere."
Neighbors feared thecenter would bring crime, noise, loitering teen-agers and decreased property values and would not turn a profit. They also expressed resentment over being left out of the board's decision.
James Loesch, who represents the village on the Columbia Council, said he agrees with the board and will convey its position to the council. The nine-member council, which governs the Columbia Association, has the ultimate authority over where, if anywhere, a fun center would be built.
Association President Padraic Kennedy said yesterday he expected the council would reject the Hickory Ridge site because of the village board vote.
He also pointed out that the $60,000 budgeted for the center was for exploring the possibility of building the center, but the council never approved its construction.
In the past, the association has researched and designed several other facilities, such as aswimming pool in Town Center, that have been scrapped, he said.
Although Clemens West residents have argued that such a center would not make a profit, Kennedy said his staff's research indicated it would.