If you’re a resident, hopefully sooner rather than later, expect a concise survey on your opinions for a new recreation center.
That was the result of the Brentwood public works committee’s discussion on Aug. 8.
Committee chair Keith Robertson laid out the known facts, then added the possibility of including city hall functions into the new rec center, including the library.
“Accounting sense, it doesn’t make sense to have city hall any longer, where it is and the way it functions now,” he said.
Maureen Saunders said she’d like to go back to the residents with a survey. She said the gym and the pool would be cost-prohibitive. She said she’d like to see a rec center for teens.
“Alderman Kramer has been championing a gym. What sort of gym? Is a gym cost-prohibitive?” she said. “We need more cost analysis and a little bit more information as to what the residents want.”
She said she’s been in email contact with her constituents, who tell her they’d like to see a town center incorporated. She added that the is packed on the weekends and that there should be more areas to sit out and have coffee.
City Administrator Bola Akande said if the committee feels that the historical value of the old city hall doesn’t equate the cost of renovating, then it possibly makes sense to go forward with the town center concept.
City hall staff and the library would be moved across the street to a new community center and the old city hall would be sold.
Saunders then suggested that residents would like to see the police department move back to its former location in the city hall building, and sell the newer building it’s now in.
“I’m seeing more café for the town hall center, not facilities,” she said. “Keep the administrative offices and the library here, so both sides of Brentwood have kind of a town hall center.”
Akande said moving the police department back would be financially irresponsible, and Leahy said it would be possible but not practical.
Cindy Manestar said in her ideal world the old city hall building would be the police department.
“After the terrible incident in Kirkwood, people were panicking, saying why are we moving the police department? Here, it’s in the middle of Brentwood, now it’s back in Hanley Industrial Court,” she said.
She said the fire department, the police department, and all the other facilities would be where the rec center is. She said she likes the idea of a teen area and a courtyard for coffee.
At that point Andy Leahy said the old survey is reasonable but dated. He suggested sending a 3-question post card to residents.
“Do the residents really want us to keep the skating rink, yes or no. Do the residents want to add a fitness center to the rec center, yes or no. Should the city look at combining the rec center and the city hall into one building, yes or no,” he said.
When the committee started getting into the details, and realizing it wasn’t so simple, Akande suggested they go out for an RFP and select a consultant to develop questions for the committee to approve.
When Robertson said an RFP wasn’t needed, Akande said she knew of a company that could do the job for a reasonable cost.
The committee agreed that Akande would hire professional services to conduct another survey, and after city staff has met with the company it would come back to the committee with suggestions for questions.
The hope is that questions will be OK’d by the full board of aldermen, then the public works committee can get the surveys out to residents.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Maureen Saunders said a gym and the pool may not be cost-prohibitive. She actually said a gym and pool would be cost-prohibitive. The article has been changed to reflect that.