The Maricopa City Council unanimously approved a $2.15 million deal with Abacus Project Management Inc. at Tuesday night’s council meeting to accelerate construction of a city hall complex, a regional park and a multigenerational/recreational center.

“Council challenged us to find a way to design and build three facilities in a three-year period and this deal will help make that possible,” said Maricopa Development Services Director Brent Billingsley.

Abacus was originally hired Sept. 7, 2010 for $521,207 to complete the design standards manual for five city projects: city hall complex, regional sports complex, aquatics/multigenerational center, main library and public works yard. The contract approved on Tuesday night amends the original contract, adding additional work in the form of task orders. 

The funds to expand the contract come from a combination of bond monies and development impact fees.

“Our citizens need these projects, and we need to accelerate these processes as fast as possible,” said Councilmember Edward Farrell.

City hall complex
The first task order, for the city hall complex, is divided into two phases leading to the completion of a design standards manual, site plan and building design.

“We’ll begin the design process in January and the city should be ready to break ground on its new city hall complex by November 2011,” said Abacus Senior Project Manager Adam Brill.

The complex will be located on a 145-acre parcel near White and Parker and Bowlin Roads. The city council will have to select a construction firm and approve design plans before starting construction.

Councilmember Alan Marchione expressed concern during the meeting that the construction of the facility could increase the city’s operating budget.

However, City Manager Kevin Evans said because of the operational and utility inefficiencies of the current council complex he thought the cost to operate a new facility would not cost the city additional monies.

In terms of construction cost, the city plans to spend about $17 million of general government development impact fees to construct the complex.

Development impact fees are monies the city collects for the construction of homes and commercial buildings.

These monies are earmarked for specific purposes, such as the construction of government complexes and have no impact on the city’s general fund.

“Having a viable city hall is very important,” said Councilmember Marvin Brown. “It is often the image people associate with a municipality.”

Recreational facilities
The second task order will result in the production of site master plans and engineering plans for a regional park and a multigenerational/aquatics center.

These two plans will identify the location of building pads, pedestrian walkways, parking and other features for the two projects on a 143-acre parcel near the intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Bowlin Road.

Brill predicted that, if council continues to move at the current pace, the regional park could be completed by December 2012 and the multigenerational/aquatics center by October of 2013.

Councilmember Carl Diedrich encouraged the firm to move as rapidly on the projects as possible. “These are services our community is in need of now.”

Farrell added that the community said they wanted these projects when they approved the $65 million Parks, Recreation and Library bond package two years ago.

To date the city has released $20 million of the package to begin projects.

While Evans said he felt there would be no additional operating expense from the construction of a city hall complex, he said the parks and recreation projects could create additional budget expenditures.

“There is no way you can staff a recreation center with the staff you have now,” he said.

However, the city manager added there are ways council can get creative in terms of contracting with non-profit agencies like the Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to operate the recreation center.

“It is something you will need to study as a council before you pull the trigger.”

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