Community center, auditorium renovation repair priorities for both facility budgets – York News-Times

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a series focusing on the different departments within the city, their needs and their revenues as city officials have started the process of formulating the budget for the 2020-21 year.

YORK – Big things are happening at both the community center and the auditorium this year – as a $5 million combined project will result in the fixing of many years-old problems and the restoration of these valuable city-owned facilities.

This past week, when the city council, department heads and administration met in a special session to discuss the 2020-21 budget, it was noted that both projects will be budgeted in a special fund from which the money will flow in and out. The fund, called the “General Capital Projects Fund,” includes expenditures of $2,625,000 for construction work at the auditorium, $875,000 for the engineering work for the auditorium, $1,125,000 for the construction at the community center, $375,000 for the engineer at the community center, as well as smaller amounts for interest on short term debt ($125,000), and miscellaneous for each ($10,000 for each project).

On the revenue side of this fund are bond/loan proceeds of $2,888,000 (auditorium); auditorium grants, $612,000; transfer from LB357 for auditorium ($75,000), bond proceeds of $1,450,000 (for the community center); grants for the community center, $50,000; transfer from LB357 for community center ($50,000).

Short-term term financing will be used until the project is complete and bonded.

“These projects will be great, to have done,” said Cheree Folts, director of public works, to the city council.

That said, there are very little capital improvement requests in the specific fund for the community center or the auditorium, because of the major work that will be done.

It was noted that revenue has been down for the auditorium – “as we haven’t had anything there for a long time due to COVID-19,” Folts said. “But, people continue to call, wanting to book it for next year. It is a cheap alternative to the convention center. I would assume that in the early spring, next year, we will raise all the rates for everything because that hasn’t been done in a while.”

One thing on the long-term list of possible projects for the community center continues to be a discussion about relocating the Palmer Museum. It is noted in the current budget book that the city’s assets committee is in favor of relocation. “The museum needs more space for its displays, plus a new location will increase the visitors,” Folts says in the capital improvement worksheet. “Museum artifacts would be viewed at a new location with better conditions and a better layout. The current space in the community center would become the weight room and the basement would turn into a youth program area.”

It should be noted that moving the museum, however, is not included in the immediate budget and is a suggestion for the future, not the immediate time.

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