Avon’s Skier Building to see activation this month
AVON — The town closes on the Skier Building on May 20, intends to activate the building and wants your input on how it should be done.
“The plan is to bring some liveliness to the building,” Town Manager Virginia Egger said Tuesday. “The recommendation is to establish a work group. … It should include a couple citizens, some council representatives.”
Interested citizens are encouraged to inquire with the town.
The building, located at 140 Mikaela Way, is being purchased with the intent of moving Town Hall there and creating some community spaces open to the public. Currently unfinished, design work on the inside of the building will begin in the coming months. The project will go out to bid in the fall and construction is expected to begin in December. Town staff could occupy the building as soon as May 1, 2017.
“We believe this is a fun project, and the public will take an interest in it,” Egger said.
The redevelopment is expected to cost approximately $2.5 million and will be paid for using tax increment financing bonds. The building itself will cost $1,525,000; on Tuesday the Town Council amended the capital projects fund budget to cover $25,000 in closing costs, bringing the total to $1,525,000 from the $1.5 million that was originally budgeted for in 2015.
It was an extra cost not welcomed by council member Matt Gennett.
“I was confused by the resolution to fund the extra cost,” he said after the meeting. “I feel like it was disguised as a different capital projects effort — to bump the completion of the Metcalf Road climbing lane up from the year 2020 to this year — which got a lot of people excited, but it got us off the topic at hand. It’s an extra cost that we didn’t know about in an effort where costs will need to be watched closely.”
In 2014 the cost of the Avon Performance Pavilion doubled during construction — ballooning to more than $3 million from the $1.5 million the council thought it would cost. Now that the stage is here, Gennett said he’d rather see $25,000 spent on programming for the stage than in extra costs on the Skier Building.
“We have missed out on opportunities on that stage,” he said.
Gennett and the rest of the council agreed on one element of the Skier Building purchase — that community participation in the new Town Hall plans will be important.
“I just want to make sure everyone knows what’s happening, with every cost, every step of the way,” he said.
Councilman Buz Reynolds said he felt the project garnered more support in the community as residents began to feel more informed.
“People just want to know what’s happening,” Reynolds said.
Egger said while the building is unfinished, there are a couple of perfectly good bathrooms on the ground floor that can be put to use right away.
“Our plan is, on May 23 — the Monday after the Friday closing — to go in with our cleaning services,” she said. “We intend to activate the building. We intend to get something in those windows. … It can’t be occupied but the plan is to bring some liveliness to the building. We could hold an art exhibition. … We’d like people to be in and out of that building.”
It’s a big deal when the governor pops in for a visit, especially if he traveled to the other side of the world to do it.