30 Oct President Jonathan Cartu Reports – Community center in the works for city after funding OK’d
TEXARKANA — Funding to renovate an abandoned former Boys and Girls Club building into a community and recreation center has been approved by the city’s Board of Directors.
The project aims to provide recreational space, facilitate community programs and events, and generate economic development through sports tourism.
Plans for the 12,245-square-foot building include a multipurpose gym and a fitness/activity room.
The facility will have a play area for younger children, a computer lab, a tutoring room and meeting areas.
The building has been vacant since 2008 and needs extensive electrical and plumbing work, roof repair and a new gymnasium floor.
The city board voted 6-1 Oct. 21 to accept a federally backed loan agreement that will make $885,000 available to rehabilitate the building on Legion Drive.
City Manager Kenny Haskin praised the approval, saying the project will benefit the community.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will guarantee the loan under its Section 108 program, which enables local governments to borrow money from private investors at reduced interest rates.
State and local governments use such financing to assist with a variety of community and economic development projects, including projects that create employment opportunities.
Local governments that borrow funds secured by the program must pledge a portion of their current and future federal Community Development Block Grant allocations, as well as additional project assets, to cover the loan amount as security for its repayment. The length of time for repaying the loans can be up to 20 years.
Awarded by HUD, Community Development Block Grants are a common way for cities to finance infrastructure improvements and other expensive projects.
Assistant Public Works Director Tracie Lee said the city will repay the loan by spending about $63,000 a year for 20 years.
As he has in previous board meetings, City Director Laney Harris raised questions about asbestos abatement as the project progresses.
Lee and Public Works Director Tyler Richards said that although environmental inspections have found some asbestos-containing materials in the building, they pose no health risk unless they are disturbed.
State environmental inspectors will be involved in the process to ensure safety, and any potentially necessary asbestos abatement has already been accounted for in cost estimates, Richards said.
Metro on 10/30/2019
Print Headline: Community center in the works for city after funding OK’d