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As Opening of Indoor Sports and Rec Complex Nears, Council to Look at First Set of Rates for Facility Use

October 23, 2020
The opening of “The Bridge” Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex in Bridgeport should be getting closer to reality. That should be the case if the agenda for Monday’s Bridgeport City Council meeting is any indication.
The meeting, set for 7 p.m., has several key items related to the complex the city’s governing body will be asked to address.
Among the items being established is an ordinance allowing for rates to be set on usage. However, it is not the rates residents may be charged or others to use the facility.
“We’re still months away from opening so other rate issues are not pressing right now,” said Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth. “The rates we’re looking at involve use by entities and organizations at the facility.”
The ordinance states just that. Council will be asked, on first reading, to establish rental and programming rates for The Bridge. He said Complex General Manager Droo Callahan has been pushing for the ordinance to facilitate with planning once the facility is open.
“Droo is pushing the rates because a lot of potential tournament directors want to start booking things, but it is hard to do that for a few reasons. Even though we have a firm date when we want to be open, it is not a concrete date because something unexpected could occur,” said Shuttleworth. “The other thing is we are unable to let them know a cost. This will remedy the cost portion of it.
“There are groups looking, right now, book things next summer and fall,” Shuttleworth continued. “Having those rates in place to get things booked is the most important issue with rates right now.”
The difference between rental rates and programming rates will vary. A rental rate will see a tournament come in and handle most all of the necessities involved with running an event, while a programming rate will see the city more involved, including use of their own staff, in securing services for an event. He said the city will produce revenue in either manner.
“If we open on June 1 as we plan, and have a soft opening like most businesses before that, we have to schedule events such as this many months in advance, which is the same for the outdoor portion of the complex,” said Shuttleworth. “There’s a chance if we open on June 1 that the building may not be at 100 percent capacity but could still see usage for events. That is the reason to get this ordinance in place now.”
Eventually, costs involved for usage by the community will be discussed.
“We don’t need to establish those quite yet,” said Shuttleworth.
Council will also look to make another payment to the prime contractor, Albert M. Higley Company of Cleveland. This payment covers the September costs of $2,269,901.70.
There will also be a decision made on approving a contract for what is essentially the fitness and workout equipment. The city will consider a contract with Webster’s Fitness Products of McMurray, Pa., for $291,328 – including a 10 percent contingency of $29,122.80 for a total of $320,460.80. The contract will cover the equipment and the installation of the equipment.
There are other items as well. City Engineer Beth Fox and Superintendent of Utilities Jared Cummons will present a report to Council. The engineering department report are the standard reports the governing body receives from Council.
Fox and Cummons are also on the regular part of the agenda. Council will be asked to authorize Fox as a voting delegate at the annual meeting of the West Virginia Rural Water Association set for Nov. 19. Cummons would be the alternate delegate.
The meeting will also include a report from Mayor Andy Lang and City Manager Randy Wetmore. There will be a public forum near the start of the meeting for anyone wishing to address the city’s governing body.
Robin Ray of the Bridgeport Presbyterian Church will have the invocation to start the regular session. A work session will begin at 6 p.m.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows recent photos of work being done on The Bridge, while Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth is shown in the second photo.