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Staunton nears final number on center proposal

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The proposed Staunton Community Center would also house the town's clerk office, currently located at 107 N. Monroe St., Staunton. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
STAUNTON -- A few more days of hashing out a few numbers isn't going to halt construction for a proposed community center in Staunton.

On Wednesday, Sanders Associates, Inc., representative Dan Sanders told The Brazil Times he was close to recommending to the Staunton Town Council that it should go with the current low bidder for the proposed project.

The council opened bids at a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 17. MSI Construction, based in Clinton, offered the lowest bid of $427,600.

"We've got a list of some items that we can work with them on to further reduce the cost," Sanders told The Times.

Sanders said in order for the project to move ahead, the final contract would have to be below $400,000.

"We're at about $400,000 right now," he said.

Funding for the project came from the Indiana Office of Housing and Rural Affairs through a grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Priority Project Resources constructed a grant proposal earlier this year for the project. The town had worked on attaining an Indiana Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for two years in order to secure funding.

The original grant proposal called for $750,000, but had been scaled back to $406,900.

In July, the town secured funding for the project.

Sanders said he expected to have a recommendation for the town council within the next couple of days.

"We're looking at items that are smaller in scope for reduction," he said. "If we find anything we can reduce or modify, we have to be below $400,000 to issue a contract."

Sanders said he thought 10-12 bids may come in for the project. However, when the council opened bids at the special meeting, it only received nine.

"I knew of at least two (construction companies) that picked up packages but didn't bid," Sanders said. "I wasn't surprised by the number of bidders, but I was a little surprised by how high a few of the bidders were.

"In this construction climate, the problem is some of these bidders have trouble getting bonds. Financially, they're being viewed very carefully. We had people that picked up packages and didn't bid."

Sanders had hoped to have a recommendation for the council by Monday. Regardless, he said a proposed October groundbreaking for the center is still on target.

"(The council) would like to have the groundbreaking and signing (of the contract) at the same time," Sanders said. "We still have plenty of time to get contracts prepared and to organize the groundbreaking.

"We're in good shape."

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Why with all the church halls, fire houses and other community buildings around, is yet another building to pay for and maintain needed when the economy is so poor? Taxpayers don't want to pay for schools and roads yet they want more financial debt and responsibility that will eventually be another financial burden to carry. Has money been budgeted for cleaning and maintaining this structure once built? Is a usage fee going to be charged so when some kid spills pop on the floor at a birthday party and it's left there it's going to be cleaned? Who's going to pay for the paper towels and cleaning supplies? The electric bill? The cost of the building is only scratching the surface.

Have the people in Staunton REALLY thought this out completely? Isn't there a better way to spend their money?? I just can't figure this out.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 7:13 AM

Jenny Moore,

Do you live in Staunton? What do the over-all building plans consist of? I do know that many people have wanted this for quite awhile, but that was before the economy crunch. I am like you, I wonder just how many have changed their minds on this (especially when Staunton water rates are so Outrageous). They may as well build a Hotel for all of the tourists-lol.

-- Posted by rooster1 on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 1:54 PM

Actually, in the town of Staunton, we only have our very small water office, an aging firehouse, that used to be a church, a post office that closes at 4:30pm on the weekdays, and 11am on Saturday, and two churches. Oh, we also have the Staunton Elementary School. And yes, the people of Staunton have wanted this for a long time. The town council sent out survey's asking the people of Staunton about the community center. Obviously, people still would like to see it built; even in the midst of the economic crunch. The water office would be located in the new community center, which would provide more room for people to attend the meetings. As having two very small children, I am glad that I have a church, school, park, post office, firehouse, and water office all about two blocks from my home. These are the reasons why my husband and I, as first time young home buyers opted to buy and reside in the community of Staunton. Also, as having very young children, I am excited at the prospect of having a place to host their birthday parties, without having to have them at our house.

I am more than willing to bring my own paper towels, and such, AND clean up any messes that would occur. I do that anyway. I am a mother and a nurse at our local hospital. Oh, and the water rates are not that much higher than Terre Haute. I know, that because we lived there for several years. My question is this: do either of you live in Staunton? Do your children or any family members attend the elementry school? The community Staunton does not need tourists or a hotel. Just support.

-- Posted by cleturgez on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 9:22 AM

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