The Houston City Council last week gave its financial support to a Houston Optimist Club proposal to construct a building for fitness, recreation and community events at the fairgrounds.
The council met with Chad Dzurick of the organization and agreed to give it a letter of intent that would result in up to $15,000 for utility costs. The Houston Optimist Club would take over the various sports programs overseen the city. The agreement would be reviewed annually. The vote was 5-1, with councilman David Arthur dissenting.
According to Dzurick, the center’s gymnasium facility would include an approximately 31,000 square-foot lower floor large enough to house three regulation size high-school basketball floors, and also feature several classrooms and meeting rooms, spacious areas for fitness equipment and classes, and ample bathroom space. The upper floor would include a 1/8-mile walking track, as well as more classrooms, meeting rooms, fitness areas and bathrooms.
The indoor facility would also be equipped with a large kitchen and concession area, and a sizable lobby.
The outdoor portion of the center would feature several soccer fields and a softball complex, made possible through a potential deal with the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce that is in the discussion stage, that would allow for utilization of open land behind the community building at the fairgrounds.
Dzurick said the cost of the project is expected to be about $2.2 million. Funds would come from three primary sources: a $1.2 million USDA Rural Development loan, $500,000 obtained through tax credits provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), and a capital campaign seeking to raise the remaining $500,000 through donations by private companies, organizations and individuals.
The city’s attorney, Brad Eidson, was instructed to write the agreement.
In other matters, members:
—Authorized sending $2,063 in bad utility debt for collection. Another $2,171 will be filed in small claim courts.
—Approved a $43,815 bid for additional electrical poles and lights to continue a project along U.S. 63. Delivery is expected in December.