The proposed Lancaster indoor baseball training facility got a major green light Tuesday night when town leaders awarded $1.53 million in multiple construction contracts for the complex to be built in Westwood Park.
The town will end up owning the 16,200-square-foot baseball training facility and is borrowing $1.7 million to build it, but the Lancaster-Depew Baseball League will operate it and pay back the town by tapping into sponsorship deals, concession revenue, usage fees and fundraising.
The contract awards were held up last week out of concern that they totaled too close to the $1.7 million bond being used to finance the facility. The contracts were awarded in a 4-0 vote of the Town Board during Tuesday’s special meeting, with Councilman Mark S. Aquino absent.
Last week’s resolution on the contracts mirrored the one Tuesday night, except that it is subject to approval of the town’s legal counsel. The general construction contract was awarded to Building Innovation Group for $1.2 million, with the other contracts awarded bringing the total to $1.53 million.
A new provision is how the “soft costs” for the facility will be initially paid for. Items such as legal, engineering, architectural and professional service fees will not be wrapped into the overall bond, but instead will be paid for through the town’s recreation filing fee account.
That account – which is partly funded by residents constructing homes in the town and is tied toward parks and recreation use – now contains more than $600,000, according to Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli. Afterward, he indicated that soft costs for the facility would probably run about $100,000 and said that there would be more than enough in the account to cover it.
Ultimately, the baseball league will reimburse the town, Fudoli said. A separate arrangement between the town and the league has not yet been drafted to address that.
Fudoli said that those costs are being addressed separately to help keep the project from going over budget.
New to the discussion was banter among the Town Board about whether the 15-year bond should be paid off earlier – over 10 years – as a way to save about $330,000 less. Fudoli said that this was discussed with town finance officials but that no decision has yet been made.
“Ultimately, it’s in the best interest to pay $330,000 less because it’s less exposure to the taxpayers,” Fudoli said.
“If it was paid off in 10 years, it saves $330,000 in interest costs, and limits the exposure to taxpayers by five years.”
Groundbreaking for the facility is expected to occur this summer, with the league hoping to open it in December.