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Council Okays Key Piece of Indoor Sports Complex as $320,000 Approved for Part of Fitness Component

October 27, 2020
Several big steps were taken Monday evening by Bridgeport City Council as it relates to The Bridgeport Sports Complex, the city’s new multi-million indoor sports and recreation facility. Along with approving payments and contacts of more than $2.5 million, City Engineer Beth Fox provided one other key piece of information.
 
“I would say (the complex) is close to 80 percent complete when you consider change orders,” said Fox when asked how far along the project was by Mayor Andy Lang.
 
The question came on the heels on a trio of items being officially addressed during the business portion of the regular session of Council. One of those was standard and has taken place at multiple meetings.
 
Council agreed to a payment of $2,269,907.70 to Albert M. Higley Company of Cleveland, the prime contractor, for work done through September of this year.
 
The other two were new items. The first items were the first reading of an ordinance establishing rates for entities to rent portions of the facility – from the pool to the basketball courts – as well as rates for programs.
 
General Manager Droo Callahan said the rates, which are not the individual membership rates that will be addressed at a yet to be determined future meeting, said the ordinance allows for flexibility in setting rates. Lang said the ordinance was required and sets “a guardrail” on what can be charged to entities as required by statute for those utilizing the facility for events at the complex.
 
“This is what Droo and his people need to have so when they start talking to different groups in the future about if they want to have an event, here are what the fees are,” said City Manager Randy Wetmore. “… This is a start. As we go along, we need to figure out if (the rates) are right or wrong.”
 
The big item, however, was agreeing to a major component of the complex – the fitness facility. Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth recommended Council approve a contract with Webster’s Fitness Products, Inc., of McMurray, Pa., for $291,328 with a 10 percent contingency for a total of $320,460.80.
 
Council unanimously agreed to the purchase roughly eight months ahead of the planned June 2021 opening. Shuttleworth said there is a reason to do it now.
 
“From a facilities standpoint, we’re trying to get as many things accomplished as we can ahead of time,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a position of getting ready to open in a month and not have things.
 
“This has an impact on the construction,” he continued. “There will be electric, Wi-Fi and things of that nature where having the equipment and working ahead will be beneficial because we can do it right by making changes that are needed during construction as opposed to after construction is done.”
 
There will be free weights as well as weights utilizing a pin system. There will also be a cardio section featuring things such as treadmills and elliptical machines. There will also be a sports performance center that will focus on specialized training for teams and groups to improve skills such as agility and balance, Shuttleworth said.
 
The equipment, including the free weights, will likely all have "The Bridge" logo on them. Samples of them, which are not finalized, are shown in this story.
 
While the equipment approved Monday was under the projected $515,000 included for fitness equipment, Shuttleworth said there is another phase that will add to the total. He said it will be a new style of workout with a “video game” feel. Those particulars, however, have not yet been ironed out.
 
The video below was shown during the meeting and gives individuals a look at what is planned. Officials cautioned things shown could change prior to the opening of the complex.
 
The layout planned as of last night, also subject to modification, can be found by clicking HERE.
 
While the Rec Complex dominated a large portion of the meeting, the Bridgeport Engineering Department dominated most of the rest of the regular meeting and the entire hour-long work session. City Engineer Beth Fox, Interim Public Works Director Tiny Grimes and Engineer Jacob Griffith spent the work session showing how the city is utilizing its GIS system to map everything from speed bumps and roads, to city lights and utility poles.
 
During the regular meeting, Fox provided Council with a department report. She broke down projects, some of which dated back to 2018, and provided the status of several others. More on that, and from Fox, on Connect-Bridgeport in the future.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth, while The Bridge GM Droo Callahan is shown in the second photo. Bottom pictures are renderings of what some of the workout equipment will look like.