Leader Blues

Saturday, March 15, 2008

TOP STORY > >Two cities go canvassing for votes in Gravel Ridge

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

All 10 precincts, including the two in Gravel Ridge, voted Tuesday for Gravel Ridge to become part of Sherwood.
The total vote in Tuesday’s special election was 1,764 for annexation and 386 against annexation.

But the yes vote doesn’t mean Gravel Ridge will become part of Sherwood because Jacksonville, which also wants the rural community, voted for annexation Feb.5.

With both elections resulting in a yes vote for annexation, another election has been scheduled for April 1. Just Gravel Ridge residents will be able to vote in that election. Even if Gravel Ridge residents did not vote in the first two annexation elections, they can still vote April 1 as long as they are registered.

At the Kellogg Valley voting site in Gravel Ridge, the vote favored annexing into Sherwood with 105 for and 37 against. In comparison, in the Feb. 5 vote of Jacksonville and Gravel Ridge residents, only 19 residents voted to join Jacksonville, while 178 vote against Jacksonville.

At the other Gravel Ridge site, First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge, 339 residents voted for annexing into Sherwood, while 146 were against it. In the Feb. 5 vote, 355 residents were for annexing into Jacksonville and 608 were against it.

Jacksonville officials believe that because their vote was first they receive the most wrath from Gravel Ridge residents who at three public meetings said they just wanted to be left alone.

The officials also think Gravel Ridge voters went for Sherwood to ensure that there would be a third election that leaves out Sherwood and Jacksonville residents.

Jay Whisker, city administrator for Jacksonville, said the mayor and other city officials have been planning strategy for the April 1 vote. “We need to get the word out that Jacksonville is the best choice for Gravel Ridge, and we will be doing that in several ways,” Whisker said. “We look forward to getting our message across in both written and person-to-person form,” he said.

Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman said, “We are most excited about the vote totals at the Gravel Ridge sites. We are going to continue to work to get the word out that we are the best fit. We’ll do mailers and go door-to-door.”

Here is a breakdown of the other eight precincts in Tuesday’s election:

Sylvan Hills United Methodist Church—82 for, 13 against

Brockington Nazarene Church—202 for, 32 against

Jack Evans Senior Center—180 for, 31 against

Sylvan Hills Community Church—60 for, 12 against

First Baptist of Sher-wood—197 for, 25 against

Cornerstone Church—65 for, 8 against

Indianhead Baptist—265 for, 49 against

Sherwood Youth Center —269 for, 33 against