By Melanie Yingst and Melody Vallieu
TROY — Troy City Council as a committee of the whole met Wednesday night for further discussion on the Riverfront Development Project.
During the meeting, council heard from an array of officials from the mayor of Dayton to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to the Miami Conservancy District, all of which spoke in favor of the project. Stan Kegley, project manager for the city’s Engineering Department, narrated the presentation.
Karin Manovich, director of Troy Main Street, said the project would benefit the city looking to the future.
“We need to draw young professionals and empty nesters/new retirees in,” Manovich said. These people are looking for places to live that are walkable, have entertainment and have vibrant downtowns. They have money and they want to have some fun spending it.”
Diana Thompson, director of the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau also spoke, citing the newest tourism figures she just received. Thompson said tourism was up in Ohio in 2013 — 4.3 percent from 2012 — to the tune of $160 million in cash register sales.
Thompson said projects like the Riverfront Development Project will improve Troy’s chances of bringing in even more tourism dollars. She said figures show, on average, a person visiting the area for a day trip will spend approximately $104 per day, while a person spending the night in the area will spend an average of $305 per day.
Thompson also supports the planned improvements at Hobart Arena citing the millions of dollars in economic impact each year on the area.
“People are looking for recreational opportunities,” Thompson said. “We can draw more and more people in.”
Following input from the dozen or more speakers, city of Troy Service and Safety Director Patrick Titterington showed attendees the financial figures for three separate scenarios, from funding all the recommendations for the project at a price tag of $17.8 million, to funding all of the Treasure Island recommendations and a portion of the Hobart Arena projects, at $10 million.
City auditor John Stickel said if the city were to decide to move ahead with one of the scenarios, that the city’s General Fund could support a bond issue to fund the project. He said waiting — with historically low interest rates at this time and rising costs in the future — to complete the project could cost as much as $3.5 million more in the future.
At the conclusion of the meeting, council president Marty Baker asked Titterington to create a financial scenario with just the improvements to Hobart Arena.
Bobby Phillips, Doug Tremblay and John Schweser asked for meetings to be scheduled to seek public input as council moves along with further discussions of the project.
Recreation, park board to move forward with project
Both the Troy Recreation Board and the board of park commissioners gave their consent to move forward with the Riverfront Development project for improvements both Hobart Arena and Treasure Island parks on Tuesday.
Both boards met following an extensive tour of both city properties on Tuesday including presentations for both facilities.
The board of park commissioners, led by Alan Kappers, approved to proceed with the Treasure Island park improvements contingent upon a few conditions.
Kappers, along with board member Becky Pierce, said the park board of commissioners’ approval hinged upon the purchase of a tractor with a brush attachment to assist in sweeping off silt and debris from Treasure Islandpark area as well as water hook-ups spaced 150 feet apart to help clean the park’s lagoon area as well as around the marina building.
Treasure Island tour
City staff, Mayor Michael Beamish and various board and council members toured Treasure Island’s marina building with architect Rick Willis to envision the future of the park and its role in the riverfront development project on Tuesday.
Marina building improvements include renovations to the buildings “fireplace room,” exterior improvements, decks, restrooms and events area ranging in cost from $1.6 million to $1.9 million.
Other improvements include floating docks that could cost up to $20,000. Other general improvements including water quality improvements such a dredging, aeration, a looped trail, enhanced gateway entrance, improved lighting and even acquiring an additional five acres. The general improvements would cost up to $775,000.
Park area landscaping, including a picnic area and also an additional amphitheater, would cost up to $300,000. Parking lot improvements are on the top of the list which would cost up $100,000.
The amphitheater would utilize an outdoor space to host music events within Treasure Island Park.
Improvements to Treasure Island’s playground, pavilion and lighthouse (paid for by a grant for $80,000) could cost up to $250,000.
The grand total of all capital enhancements for Treasure Island, including the marina building, has an estimated cost of up to $2.8 million.
Willis noted that the bike path is one of the key recreation attractions in the regional area as well as a potential watercraft rental for water recreation.
The study included the recreation trail improvements in the Troy, Piqua and Tipp City was approximately $5.6 million.
Willis said Treasure Island’s location would serve bike path users who currently stop at the Miami Shores Golf Course for snacks, refreshments and rest area facilities.
Willis said the land area of the park would need to be regraded to help assist with the flooding of the area. The regrade would direct the river water flow back to the river to keep flooding at bay. Willis also said the lagoon area of Treasure Island by the marina would most likely be utilized in a pond/lake area with improvements to its water design.
Hobart Arena tour
Crossroads Consulting’s Susan Sieger presented members of council, park and recreation boards and city officials and staff an overview of Hobart Arena’s overall building condition, potential market opportunities as well as interior and exterior enhancements to the city’s building. Council approved the feasibility study in the 2013 budget for $75,000.
Sieger presented three categories of projects for Hobart Arena.
Category 1 included short-term projects ranging from general upgrades/refresh of the concourse aisles, signs, multi-purpose areas, improvements to the arena’s concourse, equipment, lounge areas, main kitchen areas, lighting, handicap accessibility improvements and others. The total estimate of the short-term projects was estimated at $4.6 million.Other short-term “alternate” projects included “back house” enhancements upgrading lighting operations for an additional $1.23 million.
Category 2 — Long-term improvements included: relocating administration spaces to the ground floor, improving accessibility to the second floor, back of the house improvements, improvement electrical and emergency lighting, repair exterior walls, HVAC controls, relocating the main lobby and box office spaces, a second sheet of ice/openrecreation area for indoor soccer and other activities, improvements to the arena’s seating, ductwork and access to the second level for disabled, add handrails, new LED scoreboards, improved administration space, exterior improvements and other infrastructure enhancements. The estimated cost for all the long-term improvements was $8.35 million.
Category 3 — Capital Maintenance items included replacing the existing refrigerant condenser, exterior roof repair, investigate and repair crack in ice equipment room wall, repair the kitchen area, restroom facility plumbing improvements. The estimated cost of the capital maintenance items was $777,000.
If all renovations, additions, construction and improvements were implemented, the estimated cost would be $14.9 million.
Sieger told the group one of the major positives of Hobart Arena was its location near the Interstate as well as its hotel and amenities along the interstate. Sieger said the demand for a second sheet of ice most likely keeping the Hobart Arena from booking large competitions for hockey and skating programs.
Seiger profiled comparable arenas with population around Miami County’s 103,000 residents. Facilities included Aiken Convocation Center, Aiken, S.C., Bowling Green State Stroh Center, Bowling Green, Ohio, EnCana Events Centre, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Enid Event Center, Enid, Okla., and several others. Hobart Arena was by far the oldest venue of all comparable arenas when it opened in 1950. The other comparable arenas opened in 1989 to 2013.
The proposal included a rough sketch of a second sheet of ice for practice with minimal seating. The addition of the second sheet of ice on a concrete slab would also lend itself to be used as a conference center, banquets and covered open space for future events.
The additional ice/recreation space was proposed to be located to the north of the arena along Staunton Road.
Other improvements included adding a kitchen and hospitality area located near to the south of the arena. Other areas include improving concession stand operations as well as improving traffic flow and signage in the four corners of the arena. Other areas of concern includes lack of “staging” in the arena’s equipment area. The Hobart Arena’s stage for performances is located off site, which adds more time to set-up for events.