TRAC talks move forward: Consulting group will recommend on how to proceed with projectCommunity members and five organizations met this week to discuss the potential for a multi-million-dollar facility for residents of Jamestown. Dan Mollsen, senior vice president and director of finance for the American City Bureau, in West Dundee, Ill., a consulting group, headed the meetings with Jamestown Parks and Recreation, Jamestown Public Schools, James River YMCA and local tennis and gymnastics organizations to discuss the Two Rivers Activity Center.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Community members and five organizations met this week to discuss the potential for a multi-million-dollar facility for residents of Jamestown.
Dan Mollsen, senior vice president and director of finance for the American City Bureau, in West Dundee, Ill., a consulting group, headed the meetings with Jamestown Parks and Recreation, Jamestown Public Schools, James River YMCA and local tennis and gymnastics organizations to discuss the Two Rivers Activity Center.
“Are we going to do this? Is this a go or a no go?” Mollsen asked the Parks and Recreation Commission Monday. “If we are going to do this what do we need to do to be in a position to move forward?”
TRAC is a proposed $30 million community activity center that would offer something for all members in the community from youth to senior citizens. It would be located adjacent to Jamestown High School.
Parks and Recreation would own the facility, the YMCA would manage it, and the school district would provide the land. The tennis and gymnastic groups would likely lease out space.
The project has been in discussion for the past seven years.
“We have aging facilities, our outdoor swimming pool was built in 1974 — a traditional Olympic-size swimming pool — we have two ice rinks built back in the 1970s, although we just did a $1 million-plus renovation to update the utilities. We utilize Jamestown Public Schools for our youth and adult programing, such as basketball leagues,” said Doug Hogan, Parks and Recreation director and TRAC board member.
Hogan also indicated that the land that houses the swimming pool is owned by Jamestown College and JC has indicated it will not renew the lease at some point in the future.
Rough plans have been drafted. TRAC would tentatively include indoor tennis courts, a center solely dedicated to gymnastics, a water park, indoor pool, basketball courts, a sports bubble, day care and more.
Ideally TRAC could eventually host tennis or gymnastics tournaments.
“It’s not just an activity center, it’s a recreation center,” Mollsen said. “There could be some benefit to the city because you’re bringing in these tournaments.”
Cost, however, is the main issue. At the meeting Hogan said the TRAC board of directors would pursue a one-cent sales tax currently being used to pay off the high school. It is set to expire by 2017.
“There’s always hope that entire amount could be donated,” Hogan said. “But right now, realistically, we’re probably looking at some tax revenue.”
The TRAC group is looking at a $30 million price tag, so all groups that want to be included are, and that nothing is left out.
However, Jamestown has other needs. At the meetings the sewer system and potential upgrades to the Civic Center were discussed.
“We always hear we need to grow Jamestown, we need to attract new business, we need to bring families into town,” Hogan said. “... The city sewer system, for example, needs upgrading. People aren’t going to say ‘let’s move to Jamestown because we can flush the toilets and not worry about it,’ but they see a facility like this and it’s more attractive to relocate.”
The proposed facility would also offer more for the community than the Civic Center currently does, he said.
“That’s basically what it is, a place for conventions and large athletic events,” Hogan said. “This TRAC facility would be much different than that.
“… The Civic Center is not going to have a water park, it doesn’t have a cardio area that we will have — it’s not going to have the day care facility for example. ... We feel that we could better service the community with a new facility like this.”
Mollsen at ACB will present a report in two to three weeks to the TRAC board of directors with recommendations.
“It’s gotten beyond a dream now,” said Bob Toso, JPS superintendent and TRAC board member. “You start seeing the picture, you start seeing the people involved, it’s starting to solidify a little bit, but we’re still in the planning stage.”
The TRAC board paid $3,000 for Mollsen’s work and another $10,000 to Zerr Berg Architects for its work in the developmental process.
Next the group will create a more-detailed business plan that explains the relationships the five organizations will have in the building, and also how it can generate revenue.
“We want to make sure this is a cash-flow building,” Toso said, “that it doesn’t have to be subsidized by the city, the park board or the school district.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org