STOW — For a few days, it appeared a recreation center could be in Stow's future.

But with a split vote Thursday night, the city council denied the administration’s proposed $231,000 purchase of a residence at 3940 Darrow Road. The purchase could have paved the way for future land use options at the City Center, including the potential construction of a recreation center by a private developer.

The 1.5-acre site is located between the Stow post office and the Stow Senior Center and is owned by James and Rebecca Quatraro. The acquisition would have been combined with 6.3 acres already owned by the city north of the post office, including the senior center.

The proposal comes as Stow is developing its plan for the City Center complex based around City Hall, having dropped the word “downtown” from previous concepts

Council members James Costello, Sindi Harrison and Brian D’Antonio voted in favor of the purchase. Opposing it were Brian Lowdermilk, Mike Rasor and Matt Riehl. Council member Bob Adaska was absent.

In pre-vote remarks, Harrison said she “was for purchasing the property, but I’m not for the idea of the rec center until there’s a lot more concrete plans around it. ... I think purchasing this property, regardless of what we develop in that area, is going to be necessary.”

D’Antonio said he thought it would be a mistake to hope the city could acquire the parcel at a lower price sometime in the future.

Lowdermilk said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to purchasing the property, but said he was against “paying what I think is a higher price than the citizens should.”

According to Mayor John Pribonic, the city most likely would have leased the property to the undisclosed developer, making the facility privately owned. He compared the proposed center to the rec center in Tallmadge, saying the plan was to keep membership and usage costs comparable.

The year-round facility would have included a walking track, workout machinery, basketball courts and rooms for classes such as yoga, as well as outside recreational activities, such as sand volleyball. No pool was planned for the facility

"It’s disappointing,” Pribonic said after the vote. “But we move on and we still plug along now with the amphitheater and also the play trail and we’ll see what opportunity awaits us now. We’ll see where that takes us and we’ll start going in a different route.”

Stow Sentry Editor Marsha McKenna contributed to this report.