New Community Center to be Built in Jarboe Park
Structure will replace the former Girl Scout building.
The Neptune Beach City Council has agreed to move forward with building a new community center in Jarboe Park that will replace the Girl Scout building that was razed last year.
The building is part of the Jarboe Park Master Plan, but its construction was not included in phase one of the planned improvements at the park. But a grant to the city for a multi-use path that parallels Florida Boulevard required restrooms to be built adjacent to the path. The council determined that since the building was part of the plan anyway, and the restrooms were planned part of the building, they should go forward with the larger project at the same time.
The building will be constructed by Acon Construction, who presented a bid of $481,000 for the building. The city sought other bids, but Acon was the only company who expressed an interest in working on the project. Frank Anderson represented the company at a special city council meeting Thursday morning. Councilman Rory Diamond and Mayor Elaine Brown both said they had “sticker shock” when they saw the final estimate for the construction. Anderson said that the plan could still be adjusted to accommodate things like larger windows than are shown in the current drawing, and that there is room for some negotiation on the cost.
Much of that funding will come from money received by the city from The Better Jacksonville Plan that is earmarked specifically for things like parks. “The original grant was for $200,000,” said City Manager Andy Hyatt. “$160,000 was coming through the RTP grant from the state, $40,000 was our match. To date, we’ve spent $49,934.25 on the trail that was part of the grant. We still have to do the trail bridge, an information kiosk and restrooms as part of that grant, which would come to the total of $200,000,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt also said that the building could be a potential revenue stream for the city from rentals for parties and events. He said that the revenue could be as much as $2,000 to $4,000 per month. The city has also received about $30,000 in private donations to go towards the building.
The city staff is currently reviewing the plans and the bid to see where some money might be saved on the structure. While the building will be more expensive than originally thought, Mayor Brown said that it will be a good investment for the city. “I’m ready to move forward, and see that we get something that is a quality product for the citizens of Neptune Beach and for all of us to really be proud of,” Brown said. “Construction costs and everything that goes into this, they’re right in line with, from what I’ve been told, with what the market is,” she said.
Anderson said that once plans are finalized, the construction should not take more than 180 days to complete, and might go more quickly. City Manager Hyatt said that there is a deadline of July 1 for the grant, but he would contact the granting authority to see if the city could get an extension.