BUCKHANNON — Members of Buckhannon City Council met in person for a special session on Wednesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. The meeting lasted nearly one hour as council discussed the finalization of the proposed Stockert Youth Community Center (SYCC) multipurpose building plan design, use of space and budget.
Mayor Robbie Skinner noted that the last time the council discussed the subject was on Thursday, August 11 during a combined council and community meeting that took place at the Public Safety Complex. “We received feedback from our community as to what we would collectively want to see in a new building to be constructed across the street,” said Mayor Skinner. “Overall, it appeared by the comments and surveys that the board, residents and city council members have captured what the community would like to see in a new multipurpose facility.”
Although this idea to expand the SYCC began many years ago, the City of Buckhannon was not financially capable of producing it. Mayor Skinner shared that now funding can be made available and that councilman David McCauley had lead fundraising for this project, which now totals nearly $500,000.
Council members discussed the project cost and more.
Mayor Skinner said, “We have put our heads together for a long time. It is time to do this. It is time to break ground.” Councilman Jack Reger said, “I’m a little confused because I thought it was $3.5 million and now we’re saying $4 million?” to which Mayor Skinner noted that the cap for the project would be at most $4 million. Council members discussed that with rising costs it would most likely be beneficial to get the loan for $4 million and then use capital funds for cushion for any issues that may arise. The conversation went back and forth discussing funds, interest rates and anticipation of unknowns and rising costs. It was shared payment rate at $3.5 million would cost the city an estimated 229,000 a year on a 30-year payment plan and be an estimated 206,000 a year on a 40-year payment plan.
Reger shared that he was reluctant to go to $4 million, citing that the Colonial Arts Center is still being funded by the city and that there is infrastructure including sewage system and more on Main Street that is 70 years old. Reger noted, “I’m all for this multipurpose center but we have to live within our means.”
Some other information discussed during the meeting was how based on census data, the City of Buckhannon did not meet certain demographics to qualify for a USDA grant. Mayor Skinner shared the USDA operates behind schedule and are going by the demographics obtained in the 2010 census.
Discussion continued among council members and board members of SYCC who were present, along with the architect for the project. The design has been completed by Mills Group, who noted that there was not really any fluff to work with to decrease costs. However, it was noted that some details could possibly be changed including the flooring. Fundraising was discussed and it was mentioned that someone may purchase bleachers in their name or basketball hoops and more. Fundraising could save on some of the costs associated with the project.
After much discussion, a motion was made by councilman Randy Sanders and seconded by councilman David McCauley for the design of SYCC by Mills Group and motion carried. A motion was made by Sanders again to borrow no more than $4 million, which was seconded by McCauley and motion carried. A motion was made by councilman Dave Thomas to execute a meeting with the Bond Council, which was seconded by councilwoman Pamela Bucklew and motion carried.
“I’m excited to see what we have been working on. The work is not done it is just beginning and I’m happy that we have a concept and can finally jump over a hurdle,” said Mayor Skinner.