Auditorium revamp on city agenda

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners will decide whether to move forward with the renovations to City Auditorium during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners authorized architect Bruce McMillan to do a set of designs for the renovations at the Feb. 19 meeting. The idea is to expand the basketball courts and create office space for the parks and rec offices at City Hall.  City manager Ron Fehr said the move will eliminate two customer service employee positions because all services will be housed in one location and online.

The cost is estimated at $2.9 million. Fehr said $1.8 million will come from reserve funds and the remaining $1.1 million will be paid by parks and rec revenues through bond payments. He also said the commission will decide at a later date what will be done with the current parks and rec offices at City Park.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda, commissioners will review two items approved last month by the Urban Area Planning Board. One permits the construction of a Petsmart near Home Depot on the city’s west side, and the second authorizes Thomas Sign to put up a new billboard along K-18.

Fehr said the planning board approved Petsmart because it is barely within the flood plain and will only require a “nominal” amount of filling in with dirt to raise the building above the flood plain level. The billboard was also approved because when K-18 was redesigned, a billboard was removed during construction. The new billboard will be between K-18 and Skyway Drive.

Also Tuesday, commissioners will follow up on a recent discussion of changes in development policies. The current policies put all the liability on the city when developers take a piece of land and divide it up into lots for residential building. The city takes out loans to pay for the streets, sewer and waterlines. If the developer does not sell those lots to a builder or the builder does not sell them to a home owner in a timely manner, the city ends up footing the bill. City commissioners will consider approving changes that would require developers to submit a type of letter of credit or bond that would require them to be responsible for the taxes if the property is not sold in a timely manner.

City commissioners plan to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Commission Room in City Hall at 1101 Poyntz Ave. The meeting will also be broadcast on local Cable Channel 3. This is the first meeting of the month and residents are encouraged to come to the meeting to voice any concerns during the public comment segment where residents can discuss anything not related to the meeting’s agenda.

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