County Reveals Recreation Plan

Ambitious Project Gets Green Light

WINNSBORO – The County’s long-awaited plan for how to spend $3.5 million of the 2013 $24.06 million bond issue on recreation improvements ($500,000 per district) was finally revealed to the public Monday night and passed by County Council into its next phase of bidding out the projects. But with the entire plan more than $600,000 over budget, Council may well find itself paring down projects by the first of the year.

“You’ll see numbers today that are higher than the budget, but where we are today in the planning process, we feel like that’s appropriate and the right place to be today,” David Brandes, of Genesis Consulting, told Council during his presentation of the plan Monday night. “We’re not trying to get down to the exact budget. We want some ability for the marketplace to play a role. If prices come in better than we anticipated, we wanted to take advantage of that. If prices come in where we think they are or a little bit higher, having a strong strategy of how we get down to the budget has been considered.”

Brandes said staffing and maintenance for the facilities, as well as replacement costs and a 10 percent contingency had all been calculated into the costs. The costs also include architectural and engineering fees.

Features

Not every district has requested the inclusion of a community center in their recreation plan, but those that have will all be looking at essentially the same building, Brandes said – a 4,300-square-foot structure with one large room the size of a half-court basketball court with several smaller rooms that can be used as game rooms, offices, etc. The facilities are designed to be expanded, if necessary.

Playgrounds come in two varieties: for ages 5-12 and for ages 5 and younger. Picnic shelters also come in 40-person and 25-person sizes, featuring concrete flooring, metal roofing, tables and grills. Basketball courts will primarily be half-court, with the option to expand to full-court if necessary. Swing sets are stand-alone items, not necessarily attached to playgrounds, Brandes said.

Property

One cannot have a recreation facility, of any size or caliber, without land on which to put it. Some districts already have land patiently waiting for its new park. Others, meanwhile, will still have to go through the County’s three readings and a public hearing process to either purchase or accept the donation of property. For the districts without land already designated for recreation, Brandes said a placeholder figure of $15,000 was included in the plan for land acquisition.

District by District

District 1: $617,017 (no land). Community center near Ridgeway; outdoor basketball court. Staffing: $28,025. Operation & Maintenance (O&M): $17,294.

District 2: $573,333 (no land). Community center; combination EMS/recycling center facility. Staffing: $10,943. O&M: $12,981.

District 3: $499,337 (no land). Outdoor basketball court; swing set; two 5-12 playgrounds; two 5 and under playgrounds. Staffing: $3,836. O&M: $12,969.

District 4: $641,660 (8.12 acres off Ladd Road currently under lease). Community center; walking trails; outdoor basketball court. Staffing: $30,190. O&M: $20,015.

District 5: $641,930 (no land). Outdoor basketball court; swing set; two walking trails; two 5-12 playgrounds; two 5 and under playgrounds; three picnic shelters. Staffing: $3,836. O&M: $21,199.

District 6: $509,629 (County owned former maintenance facility). Conversion of existing facility into fitness center, to include fitness classes and equipment; lighting for existing football/soccer field; walking trails; picnic shelter. Staffing: $45,579. O&M: $24,723.

District 7: $644,440 (Genealogy building). Improvements to genealogy building; outdoor basketball court; stand-alone rest room facility; baseball/softball field; picnic shelter (larger than 40-person). Staffing: $3,836. O&M: $12,191.

The Next Step

Council voted unanimously to authorize Pope to amend the County’s contract with their consultants (Kenneth B. Simmons Associates and Genesis) to allow them to begin putting projects out for bid. Once those bids come in, Council will then take another look at the costs and consider, if necessary, which things to leave out and what to keep in in order to hit their $3.5 million budget. Brandes said building plans will have to be approved and permitted by the County, and the County engineer will have to OK grading plans and issue a storm water permit.

“We’ll move as fast as we can getting those contract documents together, getting the permits secured, then bidding right on the heels of that,” Brandes said. “Depending on where the sites are available, one to two months, then hopefully by the first of the year we’re actually swinging hammers and sawing boards.”