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Major Component Announcement of City Indoor Rec Complex Coming at Tonight's Council Session

October 22, 2018
City officials have been promising for the last few months that a detailed presentation of what will be included in what could be up to a $35 million Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex was coming soon. That promise will be fulfilled tonight as the first public announcement of the major components to be incorporated in the building design comes out.
According to City Manager Kim Haws, and listed on the official agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting, Omni Associates will make a presentation on the project to the public shortly after the start of the meeting. Richard “Dick” Forren of Omni, who is a Bridgeport resident, will handle the presentation, Haws said.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
“We’ve talked in generalities about what would likely be included, but this is the first big time discussion where we’ll get into detail about what will be included,” said Haws. “There will be discussion on what the venue will include and the features of the building. This is what the public can expect to see as the presentation will break down things in terms of size and function.”
What that means is floor plans will be presented to allow the public to see the layout and function of each of the components and how the other amenities contribute to the overall recreational experience.
Planning for the complex began as early as 2016. At that time, the city was able to have a 1 percent sales tax added within the municipal boundaries through Home Rule to fund the project. Since then, planning and most recently earth moving has begun to get the project started. The work will lead to the center building pad, utilities, roadways, parking, and includes the rough grading for future outdoor multipurpose fields.
For more than a year, City Council has met frequently in executive session to discuss what can best be included to meet community needs as well as making the facility a recreation destination.  Haws said Council has weighed their own thoughts, those of city staff, input from the community as well as those of the consultants against the finances to see what works best.
Haws reported that there is room for expansion in both an easy and efficient manner. What that means, is future program implementation can also take place.
“We’re encouraging the public to attend to see what is coming. This will be an in-depth presentation because we want it done right,” said Haws. “This is a culmination of many, many hours of work involving the city, the consultants, the community and other stake holders. We’re now in the position to move forward with this information.”
While earth work is going full throttle, the opening of the facility is still a bit into the future. Haws estimated the opening to be in 2020. The project itself is expect to go out to bid in April of 2019.
Council chambers will also likely have a strong presence from several proud parents. Students from Johnson, Simpson and Heritage Elementary Schools will be recognized for taking part in an art contest for Bridgeport Municipal Government Week. Students on hand are those that will have their art depicting what Bridgeport means to them included in a 2019 calendar.
There were more than 100 entrants this year. Photos of all the entrants will be included on Connect-Bridgeport so be sure to check back.
In other business in front of Council:
  • There will be a proclamation presented to HOPE, Inc., in recognition of October being Domestic Violence awareness month.
  • Reappointment of Fred Sartoris, Bridget Furbee and John Stogran to the Bridgeport Development Authority. The terms are for three years.
  • Reappointment of Jolie Carter to the Bridgeport Planning Commission for a term of three years.
  • Christopher “Bart” Sayers will be sworn in as a sergeant and James “Jimmy” Petroski as a Lieutenant for the Bridgeport Police Department.
  • Consider and approve a new member to the Bridgeport Emergency Services Council in Dr. Sidney Jackson.
There will also be a work session prior to the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Council could also hear reports from Mayor Andy Lang and Haws. There will be a public forum for anyone wishing to address the city’s governing body as well.
The meeting is open to the public.
Editor's Note: Top photo, by www.benqueenphotography.com, shows earth work taking place recently on site. Second photo shows Richard "Dick" Forren at a previous  presentation on the Recreation Complex. Bottom photo shows a schematic drawing of what the finished facility could look like.