City Council delays decision on aquatics facility for future T.K. Gregg Community Center
Decision on facility to be postponed until after special election
City Council on Monday delayed a decision on whether to include an indoor aquatics facility at the new $10 million T.K. Gregg Community Center. Council members Jerome Rice, Rosalyn Henderson Myers, and Erica Brown voted in favor of adding an eight-lane indoor lap pool to the existing plans for the new community center, which is to be built on the site of the former Oakview Apartments on the city’s north side. Council members Laura Stille, Sterling Anderson, and Mayor Junie White voted against. After the 3-3 deadlock, Council agreed to postpone a final decision on the matter until a special election is held in the upcoming months to fill the vacant seat of Council member Jan Scalisi, who passed away on Thursday after a battle with cancer.
If approved, the indoor aquatics facility is expected to add an additional $4 million in construction costs to the $10 million currently budgeted for a new T.K. Gregg Community Center. Additionally, staff anticipates at least $350,000 in annual operating expenses for the indoor aquatics facility, a figure that represents about 20 percent of the City’s total annual parks and recreation operating budget. In a presentation to Council, City Manager Ed Memmott recommended against constructing the facility, citing concerns that the annual operating cost would not be justified by the benefits of an indoor facility.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Council voted 6-0 to purchase 58 of the vacant Cammie Clagget apartment units on Bunker Street and Highland Avenue in the city’s Highland neighborhood for demolition, using $1.61 million in Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) funding, administered by the State Housing and Finance Authority.
After the purchase, 52 units will still need to be purchased for demolition, paving the way for a planned redevelopment effort for Highland. City Staff plans to seek additional NIP funding to purchase and demolish those remaining units.
The much-anticipated Butterfly Creek daylighting project also got off the ground on Monday, with Council voting 6-0 to approve a contract with Shamrock Environmental Corporation for $1.39 million to restore the natural flow of the creek and establish protective buffers between Preston and College streets. Once completed, the creek will anchor a linear park through the Northside neighborhood, from the future T.K. Gregg Community Center to near the site of the VCOM College of Osteopathic Medicine. Of the cost of the project, 90 percent is funded though mitigation credits from the Federal Aviation Administration.
For more on Monday’s Council meeting see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.