Describing herself as sounding like a “harpy”, Historic City News reporters listened as St Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline interjected her support for a Community Redevelopment Area as the way to fund future operation of the Willie Galimore Center in Lincolnville.
First, the city commissioned Dr. Casey Welch and a group of Flagler College students to survey the community and prepare a report; listing options that would fulfill the needs and desires of city residents.
Next, the city commissioned Jerry Dixon, a local architect, to offer his professional opinion of a budget to make the center and pool optimally functional.
All the while, citizen groups like Lift up Lincolnville and others have offered their visions for management of the center for various community activities.
Monday night, Dixon addressed the commission with his findings and suggestions to revive the pool and expand the Galimore Center and Eddie Vickers Field.
Dixon said the rehabilitation of the 25-year-old pool, locker rooms and concession stand would cost about $295,000, and improvements and expansion of the center $350,000. That expansion could include addition of a catering kitchen and classroom, and redesign of the access and parking area.
Since accepting a settlement of $400,000 from St Johns County to resolve differences over prepaid maintenance, $40,000 was earmarked by Director of General Services Jim Piggott for operation of the center until the end of the fiscal year in September.
Piggott told commissioners that he likely would not need that much money, after all.
However, he has not been running the pool, which has operating costs estimated up to $127,500 for a five-month summer period and up to $338,000 year-round.
When Dixon noted that the facilities will never be self-supporting, Sikes-Kline pushed the CRA concept; fearful that the remaining $360,000, and more, would be used to “modernize” the facility today — with no long-term plan to pay for the shortfall year after year.