SYRACUSE -- City officials are looking to amend a redevelopment agency contract with the Syracuse Family Fun Center to potentially move a community pool project forward.
Members of the RDA are expected to change an existing agreement with the private business at the city council's first meeting in April. The agreement calls for the RDA to front $300,000 for expansion of the company to include an indoor pool and other recreational amenities. Officials spent almost an hour and a half in a recent work session discussing the contract, the project and what role the city could play in helping it get off the ground.
City officials already approved a contract with Ed Gertge, who owns the center, last year calling for the project to be completed by this May. Gertge approached city officials earlier this month about project delays linked to problems in securing financing. He asked the RDA to consider fronting even more money. The center is at 1806 South and 2000 West in an RDA zone.
Matt Gertge, the owner's son, said the company expects to secure up to $5 million in project financing in the very near future, but delays in the start of the project brought up new concerns about the city's existing contract with the company. He suggested the extra $100,000 could be used to initiate electrical and mechanical engineering for the structure.
City Attorney Will Carlson pointed out if the project isn't completed by Nov. 30 this year, its tax valuation would limit the ability of the city to extend funding in 2014 for the project. The RDA's existing agreement not only calls for $300,000 up front for the project, but also projects a yearly subsidy from $30,000 to $168,000 over the next 19 years.
Carlson suggested RDA members delay a vote on fronting even more money, until he reworks the contract to see how it might impact the city and RDA funds.
He suggested the contract needs to provide some cushion for the city.
Mayor Jamie Nagle said the RDA has already committed $2 million overall for the project, so looking at a revised contract is in order.
"We need to be cautious with what we're doing," Nagle said.
One possibility discussed was fronting $150,000 to get the process started, extending another $150,000 once a permit is obtained and then setting aside another $100,000 to fund as the project moves forward.
Besides the indoor pool, the center amenities are expected to include go-karts to complement the existing bowling alley, mini-golf and laser tag options, among other recreational pursuits.