Oregon City Council at a committee of the whole meeting Monday debated the need for a concession stand and restroom facility to serve the recreation department’s new South Recreation Complex.
Council was considering whether to place on next week’s agenda an $11,280 contract with Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, Inc., for architectural and engineering services for the design of the new concession stand and restroom facility. The matter was referred to a recreation committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 7 for further discussion.
The site for the proposed new concession and restroom facility would be on city owned property located off Starr Extension Avenue west of the access drive and parking lots in the middle of the soccer and flag football fields.
The estimated cost of construction of the concession stand and restroom facility is between $150,000-$250,000, said Administrator Ken Filipiak.
A recreation levy has generated between $170,000-$180,000 in the last few years, said Filipiak. “That varies year to year, depending on what the property valuations are in Oregon. We know next year that will be reduced closer to the $140,000 mark, and ultimately, that will be reduced down to $90,000 after the full effects of the tangible personal property tax is phased out. Ultimately, I don’t think we would be relying predominantly on those recreation levy funds for most of the larger improvements.”
The recreation department does have existing separate concession stand and restroom facilities that serve the baseball complex north of Wolf Creek.
Joe Wasserman, who heads the recreation department, said about 1,000 people attend soccer and flag football at the complex on the weekends.
There is currently no access to a sanitary sewer for the site off Starr Extension. The design and construction of the sanitary sewer service to the site would be through a separate design and construction contract.
Councilman and Mayor-elect Mike Seferian said he wanted to wait to discuss the project further.
“We’ve designed some things before only to find out we put those designs in the garbage with little thought of how everything would go back there. We could actually institute a plan. Once we have a little more information of what we’re doing, then we could just go ahead and proceed. I would recommend that we just not do this right now,” he said.
Wasserman said there was a real need, as the soccer program has grown in the last few years.
“It has grown, doubled and tripled in size. So I see there’s going to be a need. Every weekend, people are asking for better restroom facilities, more choices at the concession trailer. And obviously, without those utilities, we’re limited in what we can offer,” said Wasserman.
“I understand the need,” said Seferian. “I would like to look around at the site, and I think a plan could be put together at any time. If there isn’t a push to construct this facility right now, I would prefer just not doing anything right now. I would anticipate putting a facility there. But not this way.”
Public Service Director Paul Roman said there was no master plan for the south complex.
“With the soccer fields, when you go out to watch a game, it’s a long walk. And there’s no doubt you need a unit on its own just for restrooms somewhere in the middle of those fields. If you go to any soccer complex, that’s what you’ll have. If you’re going to have the senior center as well as the soccer fields out there, I think you’re going to need a separate building for concessions and restrooms separate from the senior center,” said Roman.
“I’m not so sure I want to lock into a plan that may or may not get used,” said Seferian.
“I see the need on a weekly and weekend basis,” said Wasserman. “But how soon we could move, there’s been no question that the development of the south complex has gone onto a very fast track. But I understand when dealing with economic difficulties, we have to sometimes put things in a different priority, and I would support that. We’d work to the best of our abilities to provide the services we currently have as long as we need to.”
Councilman Clint Wasserman wanted to push ahead with the project.
“The program has grown exponentially. I would hate to stifle that growth and stifle that excitement by not offering services that many other facilities, if not all, provide. Because, as we know, with these economic times, there’s also an emphasis on competition and getting the best bang for your buck,” said Wasserman, whose father heads the recreation department.
Councilman James Seaman suggested that the city may want to hold off on the project, since revenue will be down in the next few years.
“Let’s just keep that in mind. We’re going to be talking about concessions from our employees, not concession stands. We have half a million dollars we’re losing on inside millage. We’ve got some reductions coming on the revenue side here. You want to be on the safe side. The state is having a lot of financial problems, also.”
Filipiak confirmed that less revenue will be collected from police, fire and recreation levies, and inside millage.
“I don’t want to have a battle over this,” said Seferian. “If Mr.Wasserman doesn’t wish to withdraw this, then vote for it and pass it. That would be your prerogative. I would just ask if you would like to hold this back. I think we could get a better setup that may come out to be better in the long run and faster.”
Seaman wanted the matter referred to the recreation committee because there are no utilities at the site.
“Let’s send it to recreation committee and keep right on top of it. I think everyone wants to get unified, get behind it, and understand it a little better because there’s no sewers there,” said Seaman.
“It’s already been discussed in some recreation committees,” said Council President Mike Sheehy, who wants to move ahead with the project.
“Exactly,” said Councilman Wasserman.
“Has it been in the recreation committee?” asked Seaman.
“No,” said Sheehy.
“Why are we trying to micro-manage this?” asked Councilman Wasserman.
“I’m not trying to micro-manage it at all,” said Seaman. “I’m not against the plans, it’s just I think we should just get the idea of the infrastructure considered here. We don’t even have a sewer there yet and we want to put in a bathroom. I don’t understand it.”
Council agreed to discuss the matter further at the recreation committee meeting on Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.