Truesdale commits to community center construction

By: 
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

Truesdale’s Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Sept. 2 to proceed with construction of a community center and storm shelter in Bruer Park, committing to seeking a loan for the project if additional grant funding can’t be secured.

Aldermen awarded the construction contract to T S Banze Construction, which submitted the low bid of around $1.5 million. That’s in addition to engineering costs that the city has already incurred.

The community building is being paid for, in part, by a 90-percent cost share with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, costs that aren’t associated with the building’s function as a storm shelter can’t be paid for using that cost-share funding.

The total estimated project cost for Truesdale is over $324,000, according to a finance summary. That’s more than double what the city was originally hoping to pay for the project.

To make up the difference, Truesdale is seeking additional state grant funding and considering several options for low-interest loans.

According to Chad Eggen with Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, Truesdale is a likely candidate to receive at least $250,000 through the Missouri Community Development Block Grant program. However, Eggen said that program is experiencing severe delays this year.

The major issue is when block grants will be awarded, Eggen said. “The best guess is probably December, and that would be probably fast. They’re just way behind.”

Waiting that long to initiate construction would cause conflict with a deadline imposed by FEMA for the project’s completion, added project engineer Bart Korman.

Eggen also outlined low-interest loan programs from the Missouri Development Finance Board, First State Community Bank, and other local banking options. Those options could supply $150,000 to $250,000 for the project, to be paid back with 2-3 percent interest over 10 years.

“It’s not much more than $1,500 per month,” Eggen commented. “If you rented out this place for a couple of events per month ... you could take some of your rentals to help pay for that.”

Aldermen have not decided which financing option they will pursue. City officials said they will gather more information about when the first payment to T S Banze will be due before choosing whether to rely on the block grant funding or a loan.

Mayor Chris Watson said Truesdale has budgeted $75,000 for the project this year, and can possibly budget a little more than that next year to keep the city’s loan costs lower.

Cost and funding

Additional features such as air conditioning, a kitchen, sports equipment, and other ‘non-essential’ facility features will cost $144,000 above what Truesdale initially expected to pay for the community center, according to documents provided by the city.

Added to what the city has to pay for the base cost of the building, Truesdale’s portion of the cost adds up to over $324,000, while the FEMA grant will provide more than $1.6 million.

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