By Dedra Cordle
With discussions regarding upgrades to existing structures and the construction of new amenities within the village of Urbancrest underway, questions of how they will be able to afford such projects have arisen.
The latest budget shows the village is in sound financial shape, but the council says they are looking at ways to help offset the cost of future projects. One such way that has been discussed is through a community development block grant.
According to Brian Coghlan, the vice-president of the engineering and surveying firm Bird and Bull, up to $300,000 worth of grants is available to help the village undertake these projects should they be selected. A stipulation in the grant requires that there be a 40 percent local match.
The village has been eyeing an enclosed shelter house for some time now. Initially, the shelter house was thought to be simple in scope but accessibility issues for seniors and those with disabilities have made the plans slightly more complex and potentially more costly.
The Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA is in need of improvements as well. Coghlan said at the Oct. 7 council meeting that the building needs new boilers and should be retrofitted with newer and more energy efficient models. New bay lighting and classroom lighting upgrades are also needed.
On the more expensive side, the YMCA needs significant upgrades to its pool area, says Coghlan.
“It needs a new dehumidification system,” he said.
Coghlan added that the upgrades to the pool area do not have to come from CDBG monies, but it is something that will need to be addressed in the near future.
He said the upgrades to the YMCA building – which the village owns – would likely have to be broken into phases.
“The cost of upgrading the YMCA is going to be substantial so it will be phased throughout a number of years.”
The resurfacing of basketball courts, the fixing of sidewalk cracks and the paving and construction of additional parking lots near the YMCA were also discussed.
Another stipulation in the grant application is that the village must hold a public meeting so they residents can discuss which amenities they would like to see in the village and which of the projects listed should be given priority. That meeting will be held on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the municipal complex.
In other business, Coghlan said the building plans for the maintenance garage would soon go to bid. He expects the garage will be constructed by the end of the year, though they will likely have to wait to asphalt the parking lot since the plants will be closed for the winter. The cost to construct the garage is estimated at $203,997.