The fate of a proposed baseball/softball complex remains undecided after Tuesday night's Fulton City Council meeting.
Councilpersons voted to remove a resolution involving a dirt-moving contract related to the project from the table but did not vote on whether to award the contract.
"My understanding was that we were going to talk about financing on the recreation center (before returning to the baseball complex," said Clay Caswell, Fulton's Parks and Recreation Department director.
Planned for placement on Tennyson Road, the project is to include four baseball fields, two softball fields, batting cages/hitting stations, and a concession and restroom building.
A Fulton resident spoke up in support of the project early in the meeting.
"The City Council has power and purpose," Patrick Payne said. "The citizens of Fulton have told you what we'd like to do by passing a dedicated sales tax. Listen to the people of Fulton, city staff and each other. But whatever you decide to do, the sun will rise tomorrow."
In April 2016, Fulton residents voted to pass a half-cent sales tax to be used for Parks and Recreation projects. At the time, city officials proposed putting the tax toward three main projects: a community recreation center, a baseball field complex and a new municipal swimming pool.
However, the $9 million-plus bill for the proposed recreation center (given the go-ahead Sept. 17) and the city's difficulty in soliciting bids to take on the whole project have put on the brakes. That bidding period expires late in October.
As of Sept. 17, city officials plan to bid it out in stages, using city manpower and equipment as much as possible. The contract delayed at Tuesday's meeting, $303,827 with S and A Equipment and Builders of Fulton, is to move earth and level the site.
Director of Administration Bill Johnson announced the city is currently in talks with local banks about financing the rec center project.
"We're looking at a 15-year loan," he said.
Not including interest, furnishings or upkeep, the city anticipates paying approximately $8.89 million to build and open the rec center. City officials hope to shave $300,000-$500,000 off that total through "value engineering" during meetings with architects and engineers at River City Construction, chosen to handle the project.
Current plans put the new facility at the corner of East Eighth and State streets, in the southwest portion of Veterans Park. It is to include basketball and volleyball courts, a fitness center, a turf fieldhouse, classrooms and more.
Councilpersons also got a first glimpse at the 2020 city of Fulton budget, which Johnson said looked healthy.
"The solid waste fund is in the red, but we're making corrections," he said.
The solid waste department anticipates needing to purchase a new garbage truck within the last year, requiring the addition of $39,000 to that department's budget.
"The only number we're not able to justify getting in the black is the golf course," Johnson said. "However, the guy we have out there is doing great, so you never know."