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Parks and Rec officials seek to make most of budget for multipurpose building

What can $5 million buy?

Officials with the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department are trying to tie together desired specifications for a new multipurpose building in Jefferson City with a $5 million budget that some are worried isn’t enough.

The parks fund balance currently has roughly $3.1 million identified for the multipurpose building with the remaining funds coming from the parks portion of capital improvement sales taxes.

Last month, the Parks and Recreation Commission began openly discussing options for a proposed multipurpose building with a budget of $5 million. The commission has decided the site of the building will be at Ellis Porter/Riverside Park, a property already owned by the department, which would help eliminate land acquisition costs.

Since then, the commission has held two special meetings devoted to discussing the multipurpose building and how to achieve the facility that members want with the budget outlined by department officials.

In a meeting Jan. 6, the commission met with Tom Kaleko, a financial adviser with Springsted, a consulting firm out of Kansas City, to discuss potential bonds to assist in funding the proposed facility. In that meeting, department director Bill Lockwood said “$5 million is not sufficient to construct the size of building that some are wanting.”

According to minutes of the meeting, Kaleko presented four different types of bonds with the commission, two of which were not recommended for consideration.

General obligation debt: Kaleko presented this bond type, stating it “has the cheapest interest rate as it relies on full faith and credit of the city,” according to meeting minutes. General obligation debt bonds require an election and the minutes note that after a discussion among commission members, they decided this type of bond was not an option at this time.

Sales tax revenue bond: The minutes note “Kaleko stated he was unsure if this is an option for the city,” depending on ballot language. Sales tax revenue bonds also require an election.

Lease debt: According to the minutes, Kaleko stated this bond would not require an election, but a “certificate of participation,” which “do not constitute a debt in the eye of the law.” Using this type of bond would require the city to make a commitment each year to put money in the budget for certificate payments.

Special obligation bond: These also do not require an election and are typically used for emergency projects, such as fixing water mains. The minutes state Kaleko “did not feel they would be marketable for this type of project.”

Commission President Denise Chapel said the commission does not believe anything requiring an election would be in line with what they are looking for in terms of bonds. She said the commission wants all liabilities for the project to be on the department and not directly on taxpayers.

“We’re just trying to look at our options,” Chapel said. “We haven’t settled on anything.”

No decisions were made at the Jan. 6 meeting, and the commission is continuing to look at the options available.

In another meeting Jan. 10, the commission met with representatives of Hastings & Chivetta, an architectural firm out of St. Louis, which the commission selected last year to work on the multipurpose building.

In that meeting, Erik Kocher, with Hastings & Chivetta, said his staff had developed a preliminary plan for the facility based on the $5 million budget and, if the commission continues to move forward, the project could be bid in about six months. The minutes note “with the budget at hand, (Kocher’s) staff is aware that the building might need to be divided into phases for construction purposes.”

The meeting adjourned after Kocher stated the firm would develop a conceptual floor plan and cost estimates for the project as the next step.

On Jan. 13, Hastings & Chivetta sent a memo to Lockwood outlining the firm’s understanding of the commission’s desires for the new facility. The memo details available utilities at the selected site, as well as the advantage of being synced with the pool already located within the site.

Also attached is an architectural program summary, which states the facility should provide for three basketball courts, six volleyball courts, an administrative office, a control desk, a cater kitchen, a commons area, restrooms, a janitor’s area and a storage area.

It also outlines several “desired additions as budget allows,” including a three-lane elevated walking track, a climbing wall, an “insta-theater/portable stage,” a child care area, a staff fitness area, locker rooms and two break out meeting rooms.

The commission has requested monthly updates on the multipurpose building at its regular commission meetings. Because the two special meetings were held only earlier this month, no new updates were given at the last regular commission meeting held Tuesday.

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