The Van Buren City Council has selected Crawford Construction as the construction manager on the new police and fire stations as well as the new senior center, said Mayor Bob Freeman in a recent email to The City Wire.
The projects were made possible by the support of Van Buren voters, who approved the 1% increase in the city's Sales and Use Tax in July by a margin of 70% to 30%. Of the $11.7 million in capital improvement projects that the tax increase will fund, the three projects managed by Crawford Construction will account for approximately $9.95 million.
The remainder ($1.75 million) will go toward park improvements.
The new police facility will cost the most at $4.4 million, according to city ordinance 15-2012, with the new fire department running $2.9 million and the senior center, safe shelter and associated demolition needed to move that project forward totaling $2.65 million.
In August, Freeman said that the "first thing we’ll probably end up doing is buying land for the police station." Freeman updated on Tuesday (Oct. 30) that the purchase is "still in progress."
"We had to identify (land options) and have appraisals completed," Freeman added.
The same is also true of the "additional land around the senior center" that in August Freeman said the city would look at purchasing.
Aside from that, there was little else to report.
"We have had a kick off meeting with the architect (MAHG Architecture, Inc.) and construction manager on all three projects," Freeman said, adding that the city was still "early in the process for development of schedules and designs."
"My hope is that by the next council meeting in November the picture will be clearer and I will spend a little time updating the city council. We are still looking at Spring to begin construction and they (three projects) may all start within a three of four month period of each other," Freeman said.
Sales and Use Tax collections for the increase will begin in January 2013. Half of the 1% increase is temporary and will be up to voters to renew in seven years, while the remaining .5% is ongoing and will be used to fund operations of the capital improvement projects.