High-dollar contract authorized for Racquet Club renovation
The Park City Council Thursday night, still perplexed with the overall municipal budget, authorized an $8.3 million deal to renovate the Racquet Club, unanimously agreeing to what will be one of the largest ever overhauls of a City Hall-owned building.
The 5-0 vote in favor of a contract with Okland Construction had been expected in the aftermath of the City Councilors recently reaffirming their commitment to funding the rebuild of the Park Meadows facility. The elected officials, though, had not finalized the funding sources, and on Thursday chose to pay for the project with cash that is already on hand.
Some money, though, might need to be shifted from other earmarks, such as from left over funding from the renovation of the Marsac Building. There is a possibility some money might also be diverted from Old Town road projects, perhaps the planned reconstruction of Sandridge Avenue, but those decisions were not made for certain on Thursday.
Another $1.7 million is set aside for renovation-related costs like the architect’s fees, moving and a rental agreement for space off Bonanza Drive where some of the workout equipment and programs will be relocated while the Racquet Club is under construction.
Matt Twombly, one of the City Hall staffers who shepherded the Racquet Club through a lengthy design process, said he hopes work starts within 60 days. He said a schedule for the shutdown of the Racquet Club has not been determined. Most of the aging Racquet Club will be demolished and a new facility will be built at the site. The gymnasium inside the building now, built in 1990, will remain. The redone building will be modernized and some areas will be made larger. The number of indoor tennis courts — four — will remain the same.
Some of the upgrades will include:
The blueprints, though, do not call for space for a restaurant to replace the space inside now. The building will be constructed so it can act as an emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster.
The funding for the Racquet Club redo had for months been expected to be one of the most significant decisions the
City Council would make during this year’s budget talks. Faced with falling municipal revenues and the prospects of a property-tax increase, it was not clear as the budget talks started whether the project would move forward this year.
People who testified on Thursday generally urged the City Council to approve the construction contract. Steve Swanson received applause as he asked the elected officials to "resurrect the beloved Racquet Club."
"We all love the Racquet Club and its ’80s’funkiness," Swanson said.
The crowd clapped as other speakers addressed the meeting as well. Comments included that the Racquet Club is a cornerstone to keeping people healthy.
The elected officials spent time discussing funding strategies before the vote in favor of the contract, choosing to spend money already in City Hall’s coffers instead of issuing bonds to finance the work. City Councilman Alex Butwinski, speaking early on during the discussion, was adamant as he described his opposition to issuing bonds, saying City Hall should not spend money that it does not already have saved.
By a wide margin, Okland Construction submitted the lowest of the six bids for the Racquet Club work. City Hall staffers earlier in May were pleased with dollar amount, with Twombly saying after the bids were unsealed the construction slowdown brought the price down from what officials had estimated.
In a decision about recreation funding unrelated to the Racquet Club, meanwhile, the City Council agreed to put approximately $8,000 toward specialized equipment needed to remove snow from the fields complex at Quinn’s Junction. Athletes and their parents say it would be nice if players could use the fields earlier in the spring.
The City Council, though, left it up to the supporters to raise the $12,000 needed to clear the fields of the snow. Some of the elected officials suggested the Park City School District and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District could someday provide financial assistance to make up the difference.
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