After a 10-month Phase I study process which affirmed that many residents want and need a community center, the Community Center Feasibility Task Force has now transitioned to Phase II. During this phase, the Task Force is drilling into details such as what facilities to include, where a community center might be located, and the costs for construction, operations and ongoing maintenance.
The Facilities & Partnerships Subcommittee, chaired by Greg Comfort, is currently focusing its efforts on potential sites and building programming.
To accomplish its review of potential sites, the subcommittee directed the consultant team to develop a site criteria matrix and scoring system to facilitate an analysis of the options. The criteria used for this analysis included:
- Acreage – to be eligible for consideration, sites needed to be a minimum of five acres, have the ability to accommodate all the desired uses within a community center and provide adequate parking.
- Site Control – each prospective site was assigned scores for factors such as current ownership and usage, acquisition costs, zoning and neighborhood compatibility.
- Location and Access – feedback from Phase I indicated a strong desire for a community center to be centrally located and easily accessed in a variety of ways by all members of the community, young and old alike.
- Preservation of Existing Parkland – Phase I feedback also indicated a strong desire that a community center project would not take away from existing park uses.
- Availability of Creative Funding Options – recognizing that the identification of alternate funding options would be critical to the outcome of the feasibility study, potential sites were also evaluated based on their potential for creative funding mechanisms, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) or partnership opportunities.
As this review began, a goal of the Facilities & Partnerships Subcommittee was to narrow its options to two locations so that the consultants could start to develop high level concepts of what a building might look like, in terms of its footprint and height, space allocation for the various desired uses, as well as access and parking considerations.
From an initial, high-level discussion of approximately 15 locations, it was determined that the following eight sites warranted more detailed review and consideration:
- Fancyburg Park
- Former Macy’s site at Kingsdale
- Municipal Services Center
- Northam Park
- Northwest Kiwanis Park/Burbank Park
- Sunny 95 Park
- Thompson Park
The subcommittee reviewed the site criteria matrix in depth at its September 14 meeting, discussing the merits and scoring associated with each prospective location. Kingsdale and the Municipal Services Center emerged as the highest scoring locations.
The Kingsdale site received the highest score for reasons that included: a central, accessible location; the recent announcement of Continental Real Estate Companies’ pending purchase of the site and their willingness to explore a public use with the City as part of redevelopment plans; the potential for creative funding and partnership opportunities; and the fact that it would not impact existing parkland.
The Municipal Services Center scored higher than Kingsdale on the issue of site control and the same for creative funding and partnerships potential, but lost points as a slightly less central and accessible location, as well as the potential impact on existing greenspace.
The subcommittee concluded they had the information they needed to focus on these two sites moving forward, directing the consultants to begin development of building concepts for each option. These high-level designs will be presented to the subcommittee at its next meeting, per the following details:
Facilities & Partnerships Subcommittee Meeting
3 pm, Monday, October 5
Join The Meeting Here: //zoom.us/j/96537120729
Or Join by Phone: 888 475 4499 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5257 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 965 3712 0729
Residents are welcome and encouraged to attend all meetings of the Task Force and its subcommittees, with time set aside at each meeting for public comment. Subcommittee meetings are typically held remotely via Zoom video conference, with meeting access details posted in the agenda. Any residents wishing to address the subcommittee are asked to submit a request by email to [email protected] a minimum of one hour prior to the start of the meeting.
A recording of this meeting will also be made available via the CCFTF website.
Full details of the work of the Task Force can be found at uacommunitycenter.com.