Jackson community center hinges on FEMA approval
Monday, June 23, 2014
Jackson officials still are waiting for federal grant approval on a safe room section of a proposed community center.
In 2012, the city's voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the center's operation after it's completed. Community-based not-for-profit group Jackson Community Betterment Corp., formerly the Southeast Missouri Medical Center, donated $3 million for construction costs in addition to $200,000 donated by the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society.
The city received plans for the facility last year from the architectural firm Incite Design Studio of Kansas City, Missouri. Plans were submitted in November to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a $1.8 million grant that would pay for a safe room that could withstand an EF5 tornado.
At the time, city officials were hopeful they would receive a quick response, but that hasn't been the case. At the Jackson Board of Aldermen meeting June 2, Jackson public works director Rodney Bollinger said FEMA approval of plans and specifications for the estimated $5 million community center project was expected that week.
But in a Friday email to the Southeast Missourian, Bollinger said the city still is waiting for grant approval from FEMA on the safe room part of the project.
The approval must be acquired before construction can begin.
Bollinger said the city expects to hear an answer by the end of the month. Should the city finally receive an answer to the FEMA question, it could issue bids for construction by August, review them, and award a contract by September. The tentative timeline provided by the city said a groundbreaking ceremony could take place at the end of October.
A six-person committee of city staff and Jackson Community Betterment Corp. members, formed to oversee construction of the center, plan to meet soon to discuss the project further, but Bollinger said an exact date has not been determined.