MARCO ISLAND — The blueprint for a new building at Mackle Park gave Marco Island City Councilors a lot to chew on Monday.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department unveiled a new concept for Mackle Park’s community center. Originally, the center adopted in the park’s 2005 Master Plan was a two-story, 20,000-square-foot building costing $4.9 million. The new plan could cost less and be completed in two phases.
Phase One would replace the existing 1987 center with a single-story, 16,800-square-foot building for $3.3 million. The new building would include five meeting rooms, an adult game room, a larger multi-purpose room and a teen-youth center.
An 11,570-square-foot indoor gymnasium would be added in the second phase for a cost of $895,000. The 28,370-square-foot completed building would cost $4.2 million.
Bryan Milk, Community Affairs Director, said costs were lower than the 2005 projection because interest rates and material costs were lower. His staff also offered plans for financing through partnerships and cost recovery through increased program fees. Increased space in the new center would allow increased program and use fees, Milk said.
Tim Pinter, public works director, confirmed repairs to the existing center are too numerous to make the building hurricane proof. To pull a permit for the extensive work that must be done would require a knockdown, he said.
Alex Galiana, recreation supervisor, presented a private-public partnership or P3 to fund the new center. With P3 funding, an investor pays for construction taking the building to turnkey condition; and then leases it back to the city. That lease must be paid back over a negotiated period.
Two other suggestions for funding included the city covering the cost or using conduit financing. Of the three, P3 funding was considered the most expensive.
Councilor Larry Honig asked how much incremental revenue would be raised using the space provided in Phase One. In 2012, the center’s one room netted $6,000. Galiana projected the six new rooms and additional programs would net revenues of $86,000 annually. Councilor Larry Magel felt that projection was too high.
In public comment, Richard McGuiness said he could not afford more taxes. He suggested a new addition and renovations rather than a new building would solve the problem.
“This is supposed to be a paradise island, but it seems like it’s fantasyland,” he said. “There are no federal funds available. All the additional renovations were done with matching funds. We don’t have any matching funds.”
Deloris Segal, president of the Friends of the Library, suggested council jump on the chance to build the new community center while construction costs are down. The community needs to see council back the center, she said.
Dick Shanahan, speaking on behalf of the Greater Marco YMCA, said the Y would support the new community center. The Y also plans to build a new building, he said, because the Y’s current facility is overcrowded.
West Blackwell, a 23-year resident and chairman of the Island County Club Charitable Foundation, said his charity saw the community center as a needed facility. The charitable group raised $17,000 for the center and will continue to support it, he said.
Beverly Trotter read an e-mail from her sister who could not attend. The email suggested giving the issue to the residents through a binding referendum. The email concluded that a referendum would settle the issue once and for all.
Council asked city staff to work up better financials on the new center’s income projections and expenses for the March 27 council workshop when discussion will be continued.
In other city business, a short-term note for $500,000 to assist Hideaway Beach’s renourishment program was approved, 6-0. Interest on the note was set at 2.5 percent. The Hideaway Beach Tax District will save about $30,000 in origination fees by borrowing from the city. The note requires repayment by Feb. 1, 2014. Councilor Chuck Kiester was absent from the meeting.
The city also approved a resolution authorizing a six month extension on a line of credit from Bank of America in an amount not to exceed $3.09 million to cover debt service on Septic Tank Replacement Program districts. The resolution passed unanimously.