Now that Provo residents have the final answer that the city bond for a new city hall, safety building and fire station 2 has passed, the question now is what happens next?
“We feel absolutely challenged,” said Wayne Parker, chief operating officer of Provo. Parker said the entire administration understands that it was a close vote on the bond and that residents must be kept in the loop and have transparency on the subject.
Cliff Strachan, executive director of the Municipal Council, is on the building committee and said he expects the Fire Station 2 to be done in 18 months with the new city hall and safety facilities in 2022.
Parker has a faster timeline in mind.
“We’ve got a lot to do,” Parker said. “We are the staff and in-house experts. We’ll be doing some site visits at other locations and go through some educating. The expectations are extremely difficult to meet the city’s needs.”
Parker said the city staff recognizes there is this balancing act of planning good buildings like the recreation center and the new power building, while being cost affective.
“There are several parallel tracks we’re on,” Parker said. “The first is preparing to market the bond to investors. We are working on preliminary statements.”
Parker said the bond will be sent by the end of December or beginning of January in the finance world and investors looking for tax exempt bonds.
“The city’s got a good bond rating,” Park said. “It’s an AA+ rating.”
The next thing to be done is select an architect. City staff are working on final response for proposal wording that will be sent out to architectural teams. When those come back, the city will have to do background checks, talk to customers of those architects. That will be sent out in early December. Parker says he believes they will have an architect team by the end of January.
The next thing will be to select a contractor.
“It’s a collaborative process,” Parker said. “We’ll do like we did with the rec center.”
When that is complete then Parker said the city staff and residents will know the cost to build a new city hall.
“By spring we should have everything in line,” Parker said. “Earth work will happen before the end of the year. Footings and foundation should be in by next fall. It should all be done by spring or summer of 2021.”
There are still some property acquisition and relocation for Firestone Tires and the Rocky Mountain Drive-in, but that is in process. There will also need to be temporary facilities for Fire Station 2 while it is being rebuilt.
“We expect Fire Station 2 will be done by the end of next year,” Parker said.
Parke said the building will most likely be a high rise and integrated with the Covey Center with the council chambers sitting at the corner of 500 West and Center Street. It will possibly be interconnected with the Covey Center, with Covey still remaining an entertainment venue.
Eventually the new building will be completed and then the currently building will be razed. By that time residents will have had plenty of time to work with the city on what should be done with the rest of the corner.
“There will be a robust public process,” Parker said. Parker believes there will possible be public charrettes, committees and open meetings to discuss the look of that block. Will it book end Nu Skin or will it hold to the flavor of the historic downtown?
“We will be subject to a lot of transparency.” Parker said. “That’s what we’re anticipating by the end of the first quarter of next year.”
However the city redevelops the block from 300 to 500 West between Center Street and First South, Parker said the administration knows clearly it must be a public process.