Estimated cost for community center a capital budget placeholder
UPDATE — The estimated $8 million cost for the Trumbull Community Center is a placeholder in the proposed capital budget. The council's finance committee sent the proposal to the Town Council for its consideration.
"Even if the Town Council approves the plan, no money has been allocated...no projects approved," said council member Mark LeClair
"The town cannot apply for grant funding without the capital plan in place — without last night's vote, we have no way of looking for alternative sources of money," he added. "All expenditures on the community center must come before [the Town Council] again, once a plan is devised."
12:28 p.m. —Despite calls to slow down the process for a new community center, the Town Council will review a proposed Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan at its July 7 meeting that includes a pair of line items that cost $8 million in total — $500,000 for the proposed center's design and $7,500,000 for its construction, both of which are slated for 2017 capital budget.
The item, which sits on the seventh page of the 12-page proposed capital budget, is the first resolution on the council's agenda next Thursday.
They will discuss — and possibly amend — the proposed capital budget before getting to the seventh item on the agenda, which is a resolution to consider and approve Quisenberry Arcari Architects as the firm that will be responsible for designing and building the new structure.
On Monday, June 27, the Trumbull Community Center Study and Building Committee unanimously selected Quisenberry Arcari to handle the project.
Neither the committee nor the firm has confirmed a site for the potential project.
Other categories on the proposed capital plan include $4.3 million in engineering costs for various roadway and drainage improvements; $1.6 million in rails to trails construction costs surrounding Trumbull Center; and $1.8 million to build an artificial varsity soccer field at Trumbull High School.
However, the community center will likely draw this biggest reaction from the public next week.
The lightening rod issue has been heavily debated between the town's two political parties with Democratic leadership cautioning that not enough community feedback had been gathered and received in the first 18 months of research.
For his part, First Selectman Tim Herbst told The Times earlier this month that the project wouldn't cost more than $10 million and that there would be ample opportunity for the public to comment on what they would like to see from the proposed building.
In a two-page letter sent to residents on June 1, Herbst addressed the topic directly and highlighted the project's history dating back to 2000.
"In a town that is 98% developed, it will not get easier or less expensive to build a Trumbull Community Center in the future," he said.
He also discussed that the committee would be going ahead with the process of selecting an architectural firm "to engage additional input as they move through their work."
He stressed that the committee was "exploring all options" when it came to finding a location for the new community center.
"I want to assure the people of Trumbull, there is a high sensitivity to the publics' concerns regarding placement of the new center," he said. "The assistance of the selected architectural firm in the site selection process will be of great benefit.
"Notwithstanding the survey responses already received and the recommendations contained in the Plan of Conservation and Development, I want to hear from you," he added. "I want to know what you would like to see in a community center. This feedback will be critical and will be shared with the committee and the selected architectural firm. I will also be asking the committee to hold additional public hearings with the architects to elicit additional community feedback as to what should be included in a community center."
The first selectman urged residents to email him thoughts and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.