Last updated: December 26. 2013 4:14PM - 1217 Views
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PRESTONSBURG — With the Prestonsburg City Council finally settling on a location for a proposed community wellness center, city leaders are now turning to the question of how to fund the facility, both in its construction and operation.

Last week, Mayor Jerry Fannin broke a deadlocked council vote in favor of paying $1 million for the old Prestonsburg Elementary property, where the city will now look to build the center.

At that meeting, council members were presented with estimates on construction and operations which provide some insight on how city leaders hope to fund the venture.

Plans call for a 40,000 square foot facility, offering fitness equipment, walking tracks, basketball and handball courts, a climbing wall, a firing range, large and small meeting rooms, personal coaching, refreshments and the ability to host gymnastic and fitness competitions. Outside the building, plans also call for a miniature amphitheater and a 60-foot-by-180-foot covered exhibit area.

Construction of the facility is expected to cost $9.2 million, including the $1 million the city will spend to acquire the property. Site preparation costs are estimated at $800,000 if the city seeks to fill the property to bring it out of the floodplain, although council members have also discussed simply building a multi-story building with a garage level on the first floor to satisy those requirements.

Construction of the building itself is expected to cost $7 million without a pool, which leaders appear to forsaken due to its $1 million additional pricetag. The estimates also include $400,000 in equipment.

To pay the remaining $8.2 million for construction, the proposal calls for raising the money through $600,000 from a local community foundation, $400,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, $500,000 from coal-severance tax multi-county funds, $1 million from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, $2.5 million in New Market Tax Credits, and $4.2 million in private donations.

On the operations side, estimates call for $179,000 in wages and benefits, as well as $273,000 in other operating costs. The estimates also call revenues in the form of $420,000 in membership dues and $107,000 in other fees, giving the center a project first-year profit of $27,000, after spending an additional $48,000 on debt.

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