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City votes on cost of Civic Center fix
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City officials said farewell to up to $150,000 and hello to discovering what the cost will be to renovate McMinnville Civic Center.
The measure to hire HFR Design for a full set of drawings for renovations and additions to the existing facility passed 5-1 on second and final read Tuesday night.
Voting in favor of spending the money for the professional design services were Mayor Jimmy Haley and Aldermen Ryle Chastain, Everett Brock, Steve Harvey and Mike Neal. Alderman Jimmy Bonner voted against. Vice Mayor Ben Newman was absent.
Before the vote, McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord informed the board the cost does not include bid documents, as officials had thought.
“I think we need to clarify something here,” said McCord. “What HFR has agreed to, in not exceeding $150,000, does not include bid documents.”
An estimate on how much the project will cost can be generated from the drawings. If officials decide to move forward with renovation at that time, an additional charge will be required to produce bid documents. That cost is unknown.
Neal wants those individuals that will be footing the bill through property taxes to decide if they want the renovation.
“No matter what this costs, I think this is going to be one of those items that we need to have the blessing of the taxpayers in the form of a referendum,” said Neal. “The deadline to have something placed on the November ballot is Aug. 25. I had asked if we could meet that timeline.”
Haley says a financial investment in the facility will be an asset to health.
“I know some people have some questions about the Civic Center and what it’s doing. When you look at our ECD scorecard from economic development, one of the lowest scores that we get is on the health of our citizens and we are a tier-three distress community, mostly because of obesity and the lack of any kind of health programs to improve the quality of life for our citizens. Some people may be a little critical about the investment the city wants to make in our citizens but we are investing in wellness and the livelihood of workers and citizens for generations to come.”
The Civic Center was constructed more than 40 years ago, and it is not compliant with the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Compliance with the standards is required for new construction. Renovating the Civic Center will bring the building into compliance.
“The renovations to that building have been long coming, particularly for handicap accessibility and the use of that facility for citizens because it is not ADA compliant,” said Haley. “The more citizens we get to use that facility and the healthier we can get our community, the better off we are. We can move out of that distressed tier and move into a progressive community that values health and fitness. We’ve made strides in teen pregnancy and we’ve made strides in smoking but obesity and having a wellness program for the citizens within our city is where we oftentimes fall short.”
For several years, the city has considered improvements and/ or a complete renovation of the Civic Center. Standing in the way is the unknown cost. The $150,000 is a cap on the fee, meaning work performed by HFR cannot exceed that amount.