TRAC planning process steps up | Jamestown Sun
By Keith Norman (LINK TO ARTICLE)
The voter approval of the 1 percent sales tax to fund construction of the Two Rivers Activity Center is unleashing a “whirlwind of activity,” according to Doug Hogan, director of Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department.“We know it’s going to happen,” he said. “Before the vote, there was a sense of uncertainty. It made planning difficult.”
The tax Tuesday an unofficial 1,771 votes in favor to 1,178 opposed. The Jamestown City Council will serve as a canvassing board Monday to review the election and declare the results official.
Some of the first steps toward construction will occur at the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission’s next meeting on Monday.
“We’re going to have a presentation from Interstate Engineering about the construction management process,” Hogan said. “They (a construction manager) would help the process of putting together the specs for the project.”
Hogan said no decisions on contractors or construction managers have been made, although he hoped they could work with local companies.
Converting the conceptual plan for TRAC to a detailed floor plan is one of the next steps.
“Overall, the square footage will stay pretty much the same,” Hogan said. “Part of the next process will be to get public input and talk to the experts. Talk to the people in communities like Dickinson and Williston again to get their ideas on what works and what doesn’t.”
Rachel Liechty, president of the TRAC Board, said they will seek out opinions from people who have designed and worked in activity centers.
“We’re going to look for a lot of expert advice,” she said. “The drawing (architect’s rendering) is visionary. We need to make sure the phase 1 work is done correctly.”
Liechty said this would include seeking some general input from the public.
“It is a community center,” she said.
Hogan said coming up with a final design and facility specifications could take until the early fall. A preliminary timeline calls for the project going for bids in November or December with a contractor selected in January or February.
“The idea of breaking ground this fall may have been too aggressive,” Hogan said. “We’ll have a better understanding (of project timing) once the construction manager works with the architect.”
The 1 percent sales tax will also likely go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, Hogan said. The city tax requires a change to Jamestown ordinances which requires two readings at City Council meetings. The North Dakota Office of Tax Commissioner also requires three months lead time to implement a local tax.
While the pace of planning for TRAC is accelerating, James River Family Fitness continues to operate. JRFF operations will transfer to TRAC when the facility is complete.
Frank Conlon, JRFF executive director, said there will be few changes there while TRAC is planned and constructed.
“No immediate changes,” he said. “The pool closes on July 1, everything else stays the same.”
Conlon said JRFF may offer additional programming in the fall to make up for the lack of aquatic programs. This may include youth weight training and possibly dodgeball, based on public interest.
“We have to roll with the punches,” Conlon said.