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Orchard Park community center costing more, but still under budget

Orchard Park pledged to borrow no more than $16 million to construct its new community activity center, and that is a pledge the Town Board will keep, according to one councilman.

But the 60,000-square-foot building at Brush Mountain Park will cost well over that, when the cost of site preparation, landscaping, moving fill and new Little Loop football fields are included. This phase will include a new senior center, community activities room and gym.  The rest will have to come from fundraising efforts, according to Councilman Michael J. Sherry.

"The total project will exceed $16 million," Sherry said, adding it could be as much as $2 million more.

The board plans to update residents on the progress, timeline and financials of the projects in two forums before Wednesday evening's Town Board meeting to award the bids. The forums will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the board room of the municipal center. The Town Board meeting will immediately follow Wednesday's session.

Plans have changed since residents voted in favor of the center in 2016. The town discovered earlier this year that the new building on California Road has to be shifted to another spot on the recreation area because of wetlands. Ground where the new building will sit has to be raised 18 inches, and the size of the new building was reduced by 5,000 square feet to 59,000 square feet to save money to make up for the extra cost, Sherry said.

Because the building has to be moved to a different spot, the two Little Loop football fields also have to be moved. The town was planning to build two fields, including one with lights, at the Webster Road recreation area, it told neighbors in a letter.

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Twenty companies submitted bids on six contracts, including 11 alternatives, for the construction of the activities center. Some of the alternatives, such as the porte cochere, or covered entrance, could be dropped because of the cost.

Sherry said board members, along with engineers and architects, have looked at all the alternatives to decide which to leave out, asking "What are those things we need to have in place in order to have a functioning center?"

"Some we’re implementing, others we’re not at present," he said of the alternatives. "There are certain things we are not moving forward on until we know what other sources of revenue and contributions we will have."

Other items, such as  an access road and other site work, will be done by town highway crews. He said it is expected the Highway Department will perform work valued at $800,000.

There is no total yet on fundraising, but it is expected that between $1 million and $2 million will be raised, Sherry said. Some potential donors are waiting until a shovel goes into the ground before giving money, he said.

The town also plans to sell the existing senior center, and has secured $850,000 in state grants.

Furniture and equipment is not included in the bids, because it is expected that the furniture from the current senior center and recreation department will be moved, Sherry said.


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