Friends of Gemini

The Friends of Gemini is a diverse group of residents dedicated to supporting passage of Issue 55, the 1.49 mill levy proposed by the City for work on the recreation facility and pools of our community center known as Gemini.

We believe this is a positive step for Fairview Park, and for Gemini, which has served our citizens and the common good of our community since it opened in 2007. The City's plan is viable, credible and extremely reasonable.


  • It will resolve the problems and restore Gemini to its full use with certainty as soon as possible
  • It will minimize the chance of future problems
  • It will keep us in full control of membership fees, programs and services
  • It depends on facts, not speculation or wishful thinking


  • Highly qualified and experienced professionals thoroughly investigated the problems, identified the proper solutions, developed a program to facilitate ongoing inspection and maintenance by qualified personnel, and itemized the cost


  • It is well within our ability to fully restore a major piece of our community complex that also embraces our library, our schools, our athletic field, and our track
  • The levy applies to all property in Fairview Park, including commercial property such as Westgate. This reduces the burden on the residents
  • After applying other available funds, the levy is modest compared to the benefits for the entire community, as it is $9.78 per month (32¢ per day) for a house with a tax value of $225,000


The individuals listed below are your neighbors and friends who support passage of Issue 55.

Please consider joining them by submitting your name on our Support page.


Fairview Park
PTA Council

Fairview Park
City Schools
Board of Education

Fairview Park
Parks and Recreation


"We are longtime residents of Fairview Park and we strongly support this issue because the pools at the rec center were a significant part of the athletic, academic, and recreational lives for our 5 children. We want our growing number of grandchildren to have that same opportunity for that same level of enrichment. VOTE YES!"
— Eileen and Scott Mills
"The leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 is drowning. When a community has access to an aquatics facility it provides a critical resource to our children and families so they can practice their swim skills in a safe environment. We fully support fixing our aquatics facility."
— Laura and Jim Gilbride
"As lifetime residents we have seen Fairview go through many changes over the years. The Gemini Center was a positive change for our community. We want to see our community thrive and grow, so we strongly support the levy for the much needed work on the Gemini Center."
— Erica and Jeff Kaufmann
"As a registered nurse for over 35 years, which includes many years working orthopedics, I have seen the importance of swimming in the rehab process. I also am a mother of six children, and have watched them use the pool to recover from sports injuries, not to mention learning to swim. How lucky a community is to have their own pools, not just for enjoyment, but for recovery, safety, and overall good health. I will vote yes on the issue."
— Tricia Rehor
"We are members of The Gemini and we had to sign up our 3 year old for swim lessons at Rocky River pool. We strongly support the pool levy and swim lessons for our young families in Fairview."
— Maggie and Matt Jackson
"As a life-long, 67-year resident of Fairview Park, I have seen and know first-hand the positive impact that solid recreation programs and facilities have had on our community. That's why I'm supporting the Recreation/Pool Facility levy this November. No one facility serves to bring our community together like the Gemini Center. For residents from 8 to 80 it is the heart of Fairview Park. That's why I'm willing to sacrifice 36 cents a day to keep the facility in solid standing."
— Rick DeChant
"The skills I received on the swim team at FHS and my seven years as Head Coach of Fairview Swimming and Diving guided me toward a coaching career at the Division 1 level with Cornell University and on the international stage with Team USA. But there are far more profound reasons to rally behind this levy. Drowning ranks as the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States for youth 14 and under, something that can be prevented in our community with accessible swim lessons for the public like the ones provided by the Gemini Center when the pools were in operation and will be once again with the passage of this levy. By supporting this initiative, you can help with this very important public safety issue that impacts families and the youth of Fairview Park."
— Eileen Bringman


Edvin Bahiti Amy and Joe Roman
Molly and David Shapiro Dr. Steven Weight
Denise and Keith Devine Leah and Allen Trainer
Helen and Tom Davis Joyce and Chuck Kullick
Melissa and Frank Koenig Marcy and Jim Starks
Ryan Starks Tricia and Dennis Rehor
Aubrey and Martin Christ Ann and Bob Kreps
Tom Rehor Marty Rehor
Melanie and Jim Sassano Jill and Rory O’Donnell
Megan and Jon Frenz Kathleen and Kevin Mulgrew
Kelly and Joe Simari Wendy and Jared Maloof
Bessie and Pat O’Donnell Jeana and Joe Coughlin
Nicole and Nate Barker Lisa and Jim Corrigan
Natalie and Kevin Corrigan Mike Webster
Kelly and Mark Ramunno Stacy and Marty Joyce
Kelly and Jason Campbell Anna Mills
Maggie and Matt Jackson Teresa and Collin Cunningham
Joe Mills Mary and Bill Krava
Erin and Danny Lyman Sarah and Ryan Black
Katy and Kevin Murphy Pete Kahler
Kim and Tom Conway Hallie and John Coughlin
Pam and Greg Burger Sr. Cheryl Guye
Rick DeChant Laura and Jim Gilbride
Eileen and Scott Mills Erica and Jeff Kaufmann
Judy and Tim Mesaros Erin and John Hinkel
Erin and Joe McHugh Katie and Duke Schaefer
Stacy and Marty Joyce Sarah and Mike Hughes
Holly and John Link Jess and DJ Eidson
Holly and Andy Clark Katie and Tim Kay
Megan and Joe Cooney Jackie and Kevin Joecken
Leslie and Derek Dorsey Sarah and Sam Bobko
Kathryn and Pat Foxx Bridget and Kevin Bringman
Rita Hanna and John Schaefer Patty and Tom Schmitz
Jennie and TJ Schmitz Megan and Jon Frenz
Katie and Dan Shaffer Molly Blake and Family
Kelly and Dave Malloy Joslyn and Bob Dalton
Shannon Omahen Chris Vicha
Jennifer Bolander Charlie Lorkovic
Sam and Scott Wallace Anne and Tom Burke
Justine and Chris Allen Marlene and John Roach
Pat and Sam Bobko Rose Zychowski and Neil Schaefer
Eileen Bringman Lisa and Brett Rankin
Erin and Chris Hoskin Erin and Sean Schuler
Brittany and Zach Williams Brad Bolander
Beth Ann Starks Tim Stanton
Leslie Sekerka William Jenkins
Tim Stanton David Zimmer
Luisa Cole Matt Traxler
Eamon and Michelle Walsh Matt and Abbey Markiewitz
Diana and Jerry Hiller Sheila Ridley
Terry Spisak Laura and Jeff Barina
Shanna Kovi Ellen Papadimoulis
Mike and Jenelle Bejcek Erin and Bob Austria
David Borish Jack Frenz
Leah and Chad Hamman Helen and Karl Weeber
Jennifer Eddy and Milan Mihailovic Brian and Maureen Becker and Family
Megan and Lucas McCartney Frank and Janet Berkopec
Helen and Karl Weeber Donald Bittala
Jim and Pat Kastelic Leslie and Derek Dorsey
Randall and Ann Moncrief Mark St. John
Bill and Sharon Reinke Sheila and Mayor Pat Cooney
Linda and Kevin McDonough Scott and Samantha Wallace
Regina Spatholt Laura Herman
Tom Palisin Tom Novak
John and Laurie Stauber Mary Ann VandeVelde
James Papotto

How to Support

Listed below are different ways to show your support for the passage of Issue 55. Please consider helping in any way you can.

Voter Information

To register to vote or obtain a Vote-by-Mail application, please visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website at

A PDF version of the Vote-by-Mail application can be found here.

Donate to Friends of Gemini

To contribute via Paypal or Venmo, please send your donation to @friendsofgemini by clicking your choice of the links below, or by scanning the corresponding QR code.

To contribute via personal check, please make check payable to “Friends of Gemini” and address to:

Friends of Gemini
c/o John Schaefer, Treasurer
5261 Sherwood Dr.
Fairview Park, OH 44126

Become a Friend of Gemini

To join your friends and neighbors in showing support for Issue 55 by having your name placed on the Friends page of this website and/or a sign placed in your yard, please enter your name below and check the corresponding box.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have any further questions, email us at

Why don’t we seek some kind of legal recourse against those who caused the problems? Mistakes were made in the construction of the Rec Center. These mistakes caused problems that later became obvious. The city pursued arbitration against the architect and certain contractors it deemed responsible. These claims were resolved by settlement. Years ago this settlement was approved by the prior administration and those on City Council at that time. The nature of the settlement precludes further claims against those parties. Any effort to attempt further recovery would require lengthy and expensive litigation without likelihood of success. Meanwhile the problem would remain. This is not a viable solution to our problem. In response to a question about this issue at a public meeting last June, the city referred to the review done by outside counsel last year and its pessimistic conclusions. Questions about why the city is now considering another review should be directed to city officials.
Why don’t the city and school district use their ARPA funds to help with the cost? As part of COVID relief, the federal government granted funds to our city and school district. As usual, the grants came with restrictions on the use of funds. The city can and is committing nearly two million dollars of its ARPA funds to reduce the cost to taxpayers. Restrictions applicable to the school district do not allow use of its ARPA funds to fix the Rec Center. Violating those restrictions would give the federal government the opportunity to attempt to retrieve those funds from our school district. If the federal government did so, those funds would no longer be available for other uses within the restrictions. This is not a viable solution to our problem.
What about selling the Rec Center to a third party? There is a joint use agreement binding on the city and the school district. It contains specific rights and obligations with respect to use of the Rec Center facility. Those rights and obligations are legally binding on any future owner of the facility, and make it unattractive and unmarketable to any third party as a practical matter. Moreover, the school district would have to approve any sale to a third party. Such approval would be unlikely given the school district’s commitment to the Rec Center, which included the transfer of a sizable portion of school district property on which the Rec Center now sits. That transfer saved the taxpayers millions of dollars in land acquisition cost for the original project. Even if such a sale were possible, why would we want to give up control of our own facility and allow some private entity to raise membership fees and determine what programs, services and opportunities are available? This is not a viable solution to our problem.
Can we get help from some wealthy donor? There is presently no such donor. While there are foundations and other entities established by wealthy donors for various charitable purposes, promotion of medical research, education, and the arts, it is highly unlikely that any potential donor of that magnitude would want to set the precedent of bailing out cities to fix problems of their own making. This is not a viable solution to our problem.
Why not use the money to fix our sewers instead?

Many residents have suffered serious damage to their homes, and all the stress that comes with it. They are rightfully angry and frustrated because this has been going on for decades with little improvement. Unfortunately, the sewer problem is much bigger than Fairview Park. For decades the ongoing development of the western suburbs has exceeded the capacity of the old regional sewer system. It requires a comprehensive solution which will require replacement of many sections. A spokesperson for the regional sewer district has said it would cost billions of dollars and many years to accomplish. That cost is far beyond the combined resources of all the affected cities. Only the federal government has that kind of money at its disposal. The amount of this levy is much too small to solve the problem, and taxpayers literally would be throwing their money down the sewer. Over many years and under several administrations the city has spent millions to address what it can, but the underlying cause remains. While our anger and frustration are surely understandable, the math is undeniable. This levy is devoted to a problem we can fix, and would be wasted on a problem we cannot fix.

Is this levy the right solution? The levy was proposed as a result of thorough research by highly qualified and experienced people who investigated all the issues that need to be fixed, and the detailed, itemized costs. After applying other available funds, this levy represents the minimal monthly amount needed to complete the task. This is our problem and we need to fix it. This levy is the only rational, credible, affordable and therefore viable way to fix our problem with certainty and as soon as possible.
How much will the levy cost me?

Property tax is calculated by applying the amount of millage against 35% of the county’s valuation of your property. You can find that valuation on your tax bill (box labeled Market Value) or on the county’s website. That calculation will give you the annual amount of the levy. Divide that by 12 to determine the monthly amount.

The proposed levy is 1.49 mills. The calculation is as follows:

Let’s call the county tax valuation “V” for convenience.

Step 1. V times 0.35 = valuation against which millage applies

Step 2. Result of step 1 times 0.00149 = annual amount of levy

Step 3. Result of step 2 divided by 12 = monthly amount of levy

For a home in Fairview Park with a county tax value of $225,000 the amount would be:

$225,000 times 0.35 = $78,750

$78,750 times 0.00149 = $117.34 annual amount of levy

$117.34 divided by 12 = $9.78 monthly amount of levy

How do we know this won’t happen again? Experienced and qualified professionals have thoroughly investigated the problems. They have determined what needs to be done to fix them properly, and what maintenance is required going forward. They have provided the itemized cost of every aspect of the project, including much more stringent supervision by people with appropriate expertise, and reconstruction that facilitates inspection and maintenance. Every administration going forward will have a solid maintenance program to work from, which is designed to provide safety and efficiency of our pools and our entire facility for many years to come. This is all part of the project funded by the levy. No one wants to repeat what we have already experienced. This project sets the stage for lasting success in restoring and preserving the heart of our community.
Why don’t we re-purpose the pool area instead of fixing it? It has been determined that the cost of doing so would at least equal and probably exceed the cost of properly reconstructing the natatorium. It would result in the permanent loss of an extremely popular part of our facility. Our new natatorium will be in use all year round and will be enjoyed by people from all parts of our community, as it was previously. If the space were re-purposed, the school district would have to continue to pay other communities for use of their pools, plus the logistical expenses in doing so. Or the school district would have to undertake building its own natatorium. Either of those options ultimately adds more tax burden to our residents, which is precisely what the joint use agreement was designed to avoid. Other uses, such as basketball, pickleball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, etc., would only benefit a much narrower segment of our community and would forfeit the taxpayers’ major benefit under the joint use agreement. We already have indoor basketball courts in our school facilities, as well as at St. Angela’s and Messiah, and many outdoor courts. There are many public and private spaces available that could accommodate the other narrower uses if there were enough interest to support such public or private investment. The best, most widely beneficial, and least expensive use of the natatorium space, is as a natatorium.

In the News


History of Gemini

Twenty years ago, Fairview Park was a very different place. At that time many residents felt that our home town was steadily declining, as though we were standing on a down escalator.

Our school facilities were badly outdated and scattered all over the city. As the school district struggled to keep the system going, we faced a never-ending cycle of levy after levy. We voted on twenty-eight school levies over a period of twenty-six years. This financial instability resulted in higher bond rates, which made it more expensive and virtually impossible to borrow money to initiate projects needed to improve things.

We were becoming trapped in a cycle of ever-increasing tax burden with little or nothing to show for it. The city was already built out, and there was no open land for developments that could add revenue without increasing existing taxes on residents.

Unlike surrounding communities, we had no recreation center to attract new residents. Instead, we had a dilapidated trailer park adjacent to our athletic field, in full view of spectators from other communities. The track and field were owned by the school district, and in order to minimize maintenance costs they were unavailable for use by the general public except for scheduled events. Even so the track and field could not be well maintained, and looked shabby compared to other communities.

The heavy tax burden, deteriorating school facilities, lack of amenities on par with neighboring cities, and absence of prospects for new development was making Fairview Park a less attractive place to live by comparison. This created a negative impact on our property values as potential buyers opted to invest in nearby places without such problems.

Meanwhile the cost of providing other basic services was constantly increasing. There is no discount store where you can shop for police, fire, EMS and other necessary services. Neither the city nor the school district could find a way out of this predicament. They were left to compete against each other for more revenue, leaving residents to carry both increasingly heavy burdens. Any rational person could see that the future of Fairview Park was not bright.

Of course, residents were very aware of these growing problems. They still loved Fairview Park and didn’t want to just move away and watch it decline. Small conversations turned into larger meetings seeking solutions. They were a passionate and determined group, willing to apply their skills and time as needed, and open to any ideas that made sense.

That was the genesis of the original Gemini Committee, whose name recognized the twin entities, school district and city, with the goal of solving as many of the problems as possible using our resources most efficiently, and creating a way to stop moving down and start moving back up.

There was no solution coming from the top down. There was no use looking to Washington or Columbus for help. The solution had to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, in the classic and uniquely American way.

It required a tremendous amount of effort to come up with good and workable ideas, and fit them together the best way. It required much thought, discussion, information gathering, and presentation to the voters promoting passage of two necessary ballot issues. Voters passed both issues in 2005. The new recreation center was funded by city income tax, sparing most residents on fixed income from additional burden. The school district’s component was funded by property tax. This allowed the city and the school district to issue bonds for their respective parts of the overall $50 million project.

A key feature of the plan was to relieve the city and school district from being competitors for tax dollars by finding ways to require cooperation and avoid duplication of expenses in fulfilling their respective responsibilities. Many features of a new recreation center would also serve some of the school district’s needs if it were located adjacent to the high school. To accomplish that, the school district would transfer some of its land to the city, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in land acquisition costs for the new ideally located recreation center.

Putting a new track and field under city control would relieve the school district from maintenance and allow residents to use them freely, as they do now. A joint use agreement specifies the respective rights and obligations of the city and the school district to ensure continued cooperation concerning the recreation center, track and athletic fields.

These changes also created the opportunity to relocate trailer park residents, remove the dilapidated eyesore, and create access and parking for the new recreation center. People from the churches in Fairview Park gladly stepped forward as volunteers to assist the trailer park residents with relocation to better homes, and also with applying for benefits they were entitled to but were not receiving.

To stabilize the school district finances, the elementary schools were consolidated into the new Gilles-Sweet school. This allowed formerly tax-exempt properties to be converted to taxable properties. The Garnett site is now occupied by O’Neill Healthcare and the Coffinberry site is now a high-end housing development. These changes permanently added new revenue for both the city and the school district.

Residents wanted to preserve the classic façade of our high school. So rather than being replaced, it was thoroughly updated and repaired. The junior high and Parkview schools also received much needed attention.

We were the first west side suburb to bring all our school facilities into the 21st century. As a result of the consolidation, repairs, modernization, and joint use agreement, our school district finances stabilized. As interest rates dropped, the bonds were refinanced, saving more money. Our school district received awards for its fiscal management. And voters saw no new operating levies on the ballot for the next fourteen years.

To serve the whole community we built a beautiful Recreation Center, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, with membership fees much lower than others nearby. The joint use agreement saved millions of tax dollars and opened up the new track and fields at the high school for public use, which we take for granted today. Revenue from the Recreation Center part of the project freed funds formerly in the city’s recreation budget for other uses. We added new permanent revenue for our city and schools by converting tax exempt property at the old Garnett and Coffinberry sites to taxable development, which also relieved our school district from unnecessary maintenance costs.

We got off the down escalator and quickly started going back up. Soon our property tax rates were on par with neighboring communities instead of being at or near the top. With a new superintendent and treasurer, our schools achieved excellent rating. Young people began choosing our city to make their home and raise their families. Fairview Park became the fourth hottest real estate market in northeast Ohio. Our property values increased significantly.

We fixed our problem ourselves. The Gemini Project was a spectacular success.

After voters approved it, the work of the Gemini Committee was done and the project was handed off to the city and school district for implementation. Years later it became obvious that serious mistakes were made in constructing our Recreation Center.

Now we have another problem that jeopardizes the priceless benefits achieved by the original project. To preserve our upward movement, we have to fix that, too. After thorough investigation by qualified and experienced professionals, we know what the problems are, we know how to fix them, we know how to prevent future problems, and we know the cost. It is well within our resources. The proposed levy is the only viable, credible, reasonable way to fix the problem with certainty as soon as possible.

Let’s fix it.

See the FAQ for additional information.