Coun­cil OKS $3.6 mil­lion for new recre­ation cen­ter

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Claire Os­born cos­born@states­man.com Con­tact Claire Os­born at 2460040.

TAY­LOR — The City Coun­cil ap­proved spend­ing $3.6 mil­lion Thurs­day for the con­struc­tion of a recre­ation cen­ter, but that won’t be enough to build it un­less the city of Tay­lor re­ceives an ad­di­tional $289,000 from the YMCA, City Man­ager Jim Du­n­away said.

The city can­not open the build­ing un­less it gets the ad­di­tional money be­cause bids for the fa­cil­ity came in too high. The ex­tra money is needed to pay for es­sen­tial items such as wood floor­ing, car­pet, lock­ers, a phone sys­tem and a se­cu­rity sys­tem, city of­fi­cials said.

Du­n­away said the city needs money from the YMCA be­cause City Coun­cil mem­ber Chris Os­born pre­vi­ously said he would not vote for the recre­ation cen­ter if the city paid more than $3.6 mil­lion for it.

Os­born said Thurs­day he has al­ways been in sup­port of the recre­ation cen­ter but he didn’t want the city to spend any gen­eral rev­enue on it. Vot­ers in Tay­lor turned down a bond propo­si­tion to build a new recre­ation cen­ter in 2010. The $3.6 mil­lion that the coun­cil ap­proved spend­ing Thurs­day came from sav­ings the city has made on util­ity projects.

The vote for the recre­ation cen­ter was 3-2, with city coun­cil mem­bers Chris Gon­za­les and Brandt Ry­dell vot­ing against it. Ry­dell said he wanted coun­cil mem­bers to con­sider an­other lo­ca­tion for the recre­ation cen­ter.

Don Davis was one of sev­eral Tay­lor res­i­dents who spoke in fa­vor of the recre­ation cen­ter at the city coun­cil meet­ing Thurs­day.

“We have to have cool stuff here that will make peo­ple want to move to Tay­lor; that’s the only way to ex­pand the tax base,” he said. “If you have a nice shiny thing that peo­ple can go see, then that’s one piece of bait you can use.”

The soon­est that the YMCA of Greater Wil­liamson County can con­sider Tay­lor’s re­quest for money — and a re­quest to op­er­ate the cen­ter — is its Jan­uary meet­ing. The YMCA has dis­cussed run­ning the recre­ation cen­ter with the city be­fore, but no for­mal agree­ment has been made.

If the YMCA de­cides to fund the re­quest then Tay­lor can pro­vide a re­bate by not charg­ing them rent for 11 or 12 years, Du­n­away said. Con­struc­tion on the recre­ation cen­ter could start in Fe­bru­ary or March.

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