Parks and Recreation to get new storage building
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – The City Council approved the conversion of the former court house into a media center, and the construction of a Parks and Recreation storage building at its Aug. 20 meeting.
The council approved a bid for $4.2 million for the combined projects, with Councilman Butch Ramik casting the lone dissenting vote.
Mayor Rick Sollars said the Parks and Recreation Building at Heritage Park will take the footprint where an older house currently is, and it will take on the exterior look of a barn, but will be used for park maintenance equipment storage, and will provide about 10,000 square feet, for items which are used primarily in Heritage Park.
Sollars said the former court building renovation will consist of housing equipment for the city clerk, a media center and the city veteran museum, a 501(c)(3), which will be relocated into a bigger footprint in the renovated building.
“It’s two buildings: one renovation and one completely new building,” Sollars said.
City Councilwoman Angela Croft said that currently, equipment must be transported between the Department of Public Works and Heritage Park.
Sollars said the money is coming from the Taylor Building Authority, which has a millage capture to build and maintain city-owned facilities, and from Public, Educational and Government cable channel fees, which are paid by communication companies for the purpose of public communication, and are designated for the capital expenses of the day-to-day operations of public access channels.
Croft said the Taylor Building Authority consists of Taylor residents who plan and recommend projects of this nature.
Sollars said PEG funds are dedicated, restricted funds, and because of that, the renovated court building will be a media center first, but also will provide city clerk storage and will provide a larger site for the veteran museum.
“They can only be used on building renovations, purchases or expenses, so we are repurposing a building that has sat vacant for over 20 years,” Sollars said.
Ramik said that while he supports an expansion of the veteran museum, he was opposed to spending so much money on a media center.
Sollars countered by explaining that the media center portion will be funded primarily by PEG fees, which cannot be used for other purposes, and must be used for public communications.
“We recently received an increase from one of the communications partners as a result of the vision of building and developing this media center,” Sollars said. “This will be used for communicating with residents, for educational opportunities within the Taylor School District – there are a lot of benefits to this. Plus, the PEG fees will pay for the primary portion of this expense.”
City Councilwoman Caroline Patts said the city clerk needs more room for equipment storage.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])