Council OK’s Recreation Consultant

WINNSBORO – Fairfield County Council nudged their recreational plan a little farther down the road Monday night, voting 6-0 (District 3 Councilman Mikel Trapp was absent from Monday’s meeting) to authorize administration to submit a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a consultant to review the wish lists of the seven individual district representatives. The consultant would provide “general site development information and cost estimates on the projects,” according to interim County Administrator Milton Pope.

“We’ve gone through a lot of discussion about the projects and some of the conceptual ideas that you have here (on Council’s master list of proposed recreation projects),” Pope said, “but we need to . . . know what it’s going to cost us, if we have to eliminate some things or add some things or have amendments to those, we need to have those hard costs before moving forward.”

Pope said the County would utilize all existing recreational planning information to help defray some of the costs associated with bringing the master list to life.

“There are several documents already that the County has in existence,” Pope said, “going back to a lot of the information that was used, that the County paid for, by the Central Midlands Council of Governments.”

Pope also recommended that if the more than one district planned to implement similar building projects, by using a single architectural drawing from which to construct each of the projects, the County could save considerable money.

As part of this year’s bond issue, Council dedicated $3.5 million specifically to recreation projects in the County, with $500,000 devoted to each district. The County has until April 2016 to spend the money. The RFQ, Pope said, would be a 45-day review process, and a selection and recommendation could be ready for Council’s approval by the end of January. From there, Pope said, a timeline to move the projects forward could be established.

“The entire list of projects is conceptual ideas at this point,” Pope elaborated. “Conceptual from the standpoint that we don’t have design drawing for any of these things. Some of things are just ideas and suggestions. Once we bring someone on board, there are going to be a lot more discussions that we’re going to have about the particular projects in order to associate those costs. One of the things we’re all limited by is that we all have a finite amount of dollars to work with.”

Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4) said there was still the question of what to do with the building the County purchased in 2008 but never pulled out of its packing crate. That building, which has been the subject of intense public scrutiny over the last six months, was destined for a plot of land in Marcharia’s district. Marcharia said his current plans for District 4 include a multi-purpose building, which the existing building is not. Marcharia asked if it were possible if the existing building could be cut up and repurposed, using some of the parts for the proposed new multi-purpose structure. Barring that, he suggested putting the old building up for auction, the proceeds from which would go to funding recreation in District 4, since, Marcharia said, that was where the original building was intended to go.

“I’m just throwing it out there for Council to contemplate,” Marcharia said. “My request would be that since that building was initially for the Fourth District and voted on and paid for that Council consider . . . that if any parts of that (old building) can be used, or if it’s sold, that it goes to the Fourth District.”

Pope said the County would examine the possibility of using the old building in the new plans for District 4. If it does not fit, Pope said, Council would then have to determine the fate of the old building.

Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) questioned Pope about staffing costs at the proposed new recreational facilities. Pope said his staff was examining a number of angles, including grant funds from the office of the Lt. Governor.