The proposal for a Sedalia Community Center finally made its way to the Sedalia City Council as Parks and Recreation Director Mark Hewett made a presentation during Monday night’s meeting.
The Sedalia Park Board has been discussing the project for more than a year. The proposed community center would cost about $14 million for a 46,600-square-foot building that would be constructed in two phases; phase two would be adding an indoor pool. The center features an entryway in the middle of the building, with a community gathering area and a gym on either side.
“On the left you have your community gathering side,” explained architect Bryan Garvey. “You have a child watch space with an indoor playground, the facility administrative offices are located right there so they’ve got a good visual connection to the facility of who’s coming and going. We’ve got a 3,500-square-foot event space which can be divided into three smaller rooms and a kitchen that would serve that. Also on this wing is an arts and class classroom.
“… On the fitness side we have a gymnasium that’s sized for one high school-size basketball court and two smaller middle school courts. … On the lower level we have a couple multi-purpose meeting rooms and locker room spaces and storage space. On the upper level there’s a 3,900-square-foot weights and fitness area. … Also an aerobics studio and a 15-lap per mile walking track around the gymnasium.”
There would be a driveway added off of Third Street to run in front of the center, which would include a 160-space parking lot to be shared with Liberty Park Pool and the tennis courts and baseball fields.
Several council members and Mayor Stephen Galliher asked about the possibility of including a pool in phase one and Dennis Paul of Septagon Construction said adding a natatorium would cost an additional $7 million to $12 million, depending on what is included.
“I think we all want a pool, but the overhead is extremely high with a pool. The pool does not help our parks and recreation needs; I think that’s something we can strive for and get in phase two,” Hewett said. “We are just out of space. For us to grow our programs, I think this will have a much bigger impact on our programs than the pool. If we could build the pool, we talked about it, we felt this was our biggest need.”
Convention Hall will still be in use for practices and other events.
A proposed fee plan has been created but has not been approved. A daily pass would be $4 and monthly passes would be available: $30 for adults, $20 for youth, $27 for senior and $65 for a family up to five people. Annual passes will also be available.
Several council members suggested adding a fee increase for non-residents and Hewett said he was not opposed to the idea.
To help pay for the construction and maintenance of a center, the Park Board is asking council to put a tax issue on the April 2017 ballot asking voters to approve a 1/8-cent sales and use tax. It would provide $660,455 for the project.
That would increase the total sales tax in Sedalia from 8.1 percent to 8.225 percent. Hewett provided figures to demonstrate how that increase would affect shoppers, which showed it would add 1 cent to every $8 purchase and 12.5 cents to every $100 purchase.
Paul offered a preliminary timeline for the project if council approves putting a tax issue on the April ballot and if voters approve that issue, with the grand opening happening in Fall 2019.
Some council members were immediately on board, while others warmed up to the idea once their questions were answered.
“I think everybody in this room is for this, it’s a nice thing to have for the community. The only problem is, it’s a nicety for the city,” said Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Leeman. “Now that’s a bad word to use, but considering where the council sits here with the infrastructure and things we need to do to operate … That’s where we’re coming from. We don’t want to be saddled at some point with having to bail you out of trouble. I think that’s where we sit here tonight.”
“(A community center) was close to a vote five or six years ago when we got (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) that came in and made us do our $30 million sewer project. That’s probably as close as it’s ever been,” said Ward 1 Councilwoman JoLynn Turley. “We’re at the tail end of (the sewer project) and it’s time to move forward.”
Council told Hewett and the Park Board to move forward with the project; no formal action was taken during the work session. Council will vote on placing the tax issue on the April ballot at a later meeting.
Council also heard a presentation about recycling and sanitation from Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey. An article about that discussion will be published in Wednesday’s edition of the Democrat.
Councilman Tollie Rowe was absent.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.