Fraser Rec District enhancement projects grow, but outside funding keeps budget on track
May 22, 2008
Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District leaders are finding ways to enhance projects and stay on budget, says Scott Ledin, director of parks and recreation.Voters approved a $19.5 million bond last November. An estimated $1 million from bond proceeds and the districts additional $596,000 in funds has increased the budget for those projects to $21.15 million, Ledin said.This money is extra money that we already have committed for the projects, he said. It gives us a bit more flexibility. It allows us to address some of the economic concerns with rising costs.It has increased our budget internally for each of those projects and its just due to the additional dollars either due to alternative funding or bond proceeds and interest.Inflation adds to costsLedin said the economy has played a factor in boosting project prices. Fuel and steel prices are increasing, he said.I hope (the economy) doesnt throw us additional curve balls during this construction project, he said. We have only a certain amount of money available for these projects. They cannot exceed budget. We cannot go back to the taxpayers and ask for more money nor will we.The recreation building was originally going to be 49,665-square-foot.We have decreased that by about 1,000-square-feet, he said. Our intent is to not decrease any of the programming we have within the building. To not lose spaces that we need for future programming.This Friday the district is expecting its next set of construction cost estimates to come in from its general contractor.He said people have questioned why the walking track and pool were not included in the original bond proposal. This is because the district felt the community would not support this grandiose facility, he said.We knew that there were some additions we would like to get and the foundation has done a great job of going out and making those happen, he said.Money raisedThe Fraser Valley Recreation Foundation, a non-profit organization made up of eight volunteer directors, has raised $603,800 for the $600,000 recreation center pool and $335,000 two-lane walking track. Together the projects cost $935,000.Rendezvous also pledged $100,000 for a climbing wall, but the foundation will try to negotiate the money to be used for the other projects because the wall has been postponed.About $60,000 will come from the Fraser Metropolitan Recreation District building reserve fund.Were using that money to leverage additional funding, Ledin said. We have a little bit to throw at this project.In addition, Big Valley Construction, the local contractor who will build the projects with subcontractors, said it would write the district a check for $75,000 if it were chosen to construct both the $14.88 million recreation center and $3.07 million Clubhouse at Pole Creek Golf Course.It wasnt a huge factor in choosing them, Ledin said. It did give us some additional leveraging dollars to use for grant funding because of that Were really using it to leverage additional money. We havent spent that money yet. They havent cut us a check yet.The Granby contractor was the only company to make that offer, he said.The Foundation also will ask the Fraser Board of Trustees and the county for additional funding.Operating the centerLedin said about 63 percent cost recovery is expected to run the $1 million facility, and that (63 percent) is a conservative estimate. About $300,000 will also be needed.To make up for the rest of the operating fees, he said the district is banking on net incomes. Pole Creek Golf Club also will pay $55,000 to help with operation costs for several years.It gets us to $322,000 in the first year alone, Ledin said. That money goes into an O&M (operating and maintenance) fund. This sets aside until we are ready to open the doors (in 2010).This is based on a scenario that revenues and expenses increase by 3 percent starting after 2008; and recreation revenues increase by 1.5 percent and expenses increase by 4 percent.Im not going to let expenses exceed revenue by 2.5 percent, Ledin said.We havent even put a shovel in the ground yet, Ledin said. You cant be over budget on a project before youve started construction. We know we have to bring this thing on time and on budget and that is what we are focusing on.