Berthoud community center proposal nixed

By Rudy Hemmann

Berthoud Surveyor

Community center town administrator Mike Hart proposed to seek grant funding to build in Berthoud.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting the Berthoud Board of Trustees chose not to pursue a possible DOLA (Colorado Department of Local Affairs) grant toward the construction of a community center. At the June 13, 2017 meeting the board heard a proposal from Town Administrator Mike Hart that included spending $5 to $6 million for a community center which could provide limited recreational facilities. The catch was the trustees needed to act quickly to qualify for the DOLA grant. A grant request needed to be turned in by the end of July to qualify for any grant funds this year.

The reason for the haste in getting under way with the project this year was, as always, the $500,000 Jones endowment, which has been set aside to await the town beginning construction of a recreation center. However, the endowment is to be withdrawn at the end of this year and the money used for scholarships “or such other philanthropic, benevolent or religious purposes as would qualify as a deduction from the gross estate as defined for Federal and State of Colorado estate taxes.”

The reason the town has not made use of the half million to this point is, as always, insufficient funds in the town coffers. A recreation center, complete with locker rooms, shower facilities, basketball courts, weight room/exercise area, possibly a track and, above all, a swimming pool and hot tub area would cost in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 million for just the construction, let alone the cost of upkeep and personnel required to keep the doors open.

The effort by town staff to pull together the plan unveiled on the meeting of June 13 was made in good faith to attempt to begin a project that would possibly qualify for and secure the endowment for the town. With that in mind the board voted 4 to 3 to direct staff to continue to pursue the “community center plan” and report to the board at the next meeting.

Hart informed the trustees at Tuesday evening’s meeting that he had contacted a professional who could assist the town in securing DOLA grant funding – for $150,000. Hart stated that about $100,000 had been spent by town staff thus far.

After much discussion of the issue and hearing the well thought out comments by five members of the community, the board directed town staff to not continue with the preparatory work for a community center, and instead focus their efforts, in conjunction with the PORT committee, on developing a master plan for a Waggener Farm Park.

The trustees heard a presentation from Walt Elish, the town’s economic development manager and Nathan Klein of LC Real Estate Group concerning two proposed tenants for space in the recently vacated town hall building located at 328 Massachusetts Avenue. According to an information sheet the proposed tenants are:

“Tierra Development, LLC doing business as Triton Communities is interested in leasing 1,111 square feet for two years. The base rent in year one is $8,888, payable at a rate of $740.67 per month, and Bonnie K. Smith is interested in leasing 1,327 square feet for three years. The base rent for year one is $10,616 payable at a rate of $884.67 per month.”

It was noted during the presentation that Klein had been receiving inquires for month-to-month leases. Regarding this issue the information sheet states, “If we decide to allow these types of leases rents need to be established for each office.” This is due to the added costs involved with managing a month-to-month system, and in determining how to calculate the use of shared areas (restrooms, kitchen, hallways, etc.)

The trustees got stuck on the question of how to compensate tenants who may be asked to find other accommodations in the event another firm expresses interest in leasing the entire facility at a very appealing rate.

A motion approving the two leases mentioned above and directing staff to amend the lease agreements to allow the town to escape from the agreement should a much better offer materialize. The motion was seconded and approved by a vote of 5 to 2 with Trustees Chris Buckridge and Kelly Dunkelberger casting “No” votes.

The board heard a presentation by Public Works Director Stephanie Brothers regarding an amended five-year street improvement plan. She reported Larimer County Road (LCR) 17 would be chip sealed this year from LCR 10E to Mountain Avenue, and the entire length of North First Street, from the roundabout to Highway 287 would also be chip sealed.

She went on to state Keep Circle and Turner Avenue between First Street and Second Street would have all asphalt removed and replaced with four inches of new asphalt. Brothers also shared an updated map with color coding to indicate the condition of paving on all town streets.

A motion authorizing town staff to approve contracts for 2017 street improvement plans was made, seconded and approved unanimously.

 

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