Fenton Council Discusses DDA Financing of Community Center Project
Downtown Development Authority has $300,000 for first stages of the work; could add $1 million in bond debt that DDA would pay.
Fenton City Council members agree - it's time to get the ball rolling on an addition to, and renovations on, the Fenton Community and Cultural Center. But they'd like to make sure the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) can pay off the $1 million in bonds it proposes adding to the project budget.
City Manager Lynn Markland told council the DDA has budgeted $300,000 to help with the first stages of the project, which would include an addition to the community center where cultural activities can take place. Renovations to the existing building are also part of the plans.
Financial consultant Paul Stauder might be able to attend the city council meeting on Monday, to answer council's questions on the DDA's ability to help finance the project, Markland said.
He wasn't sure city council was the right place to have the first discussion on moving the project forward, but it's time to make a decision, he added. The city of Fenton and the Board of Governors for the community center have approved an agreement for operating and managing the center.
Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King said the community center is losing out on hosting some events. In her 38 years in Fenton, the building has been great for bringing the community together.
Councilwoman Pat Lockwood said, if Stauder tells council the DDA is able to finance the project as it has discussed, council members will be more confident.
"We want to make sure we can afford it," Lockwood said.
A project manager is needed, and a request for proposals from candidates has gone out, she said. The project manager will have more information on the total cost of the community center work. And there is a grant waiting at the Genesee County level, for an elevator for the community center.
If Fenton doesn't get the project going, it will lose the grant money, said Councilman Brad Jacob.
He wants the job done, Councilman Benjamin Smith said. He believes though, that the community center's Board of Governors might not have enough money to pick up its portion of the cost.
The Board of Governors would need to let people who have pledged to donate money for the project, that it's moving forward, Markland said.
Councilman Les Bland said he has attended some DDA meetings, and there have been concerns about how tight the DDA budget is getting and whether the DDA has money to finish projects it's started. He has no problem with the DDA's financing for the Fenton Community and Cultural Center, as long as the money is there for the DDA to pay off the debt over a period of time.