CLEARWATER – Residents in the Morningside neighborhood of Clearwater are one step closer to having a new and improved recreation center.
The Clearwater City Council approved a bid from Caladesi Construction Co. of Largo for construction of the Morningside Recreation Center on Harn Boulevard in southeast Clearwater.
The company’s bid came in at just over $5.7 million for the work on the 22,000-square-foot complex.
The scope of the contract includes the construction of a lobby, office, fitness room, gymnasium, storage area, restrooms and a number of multi-purpose rooms.
The complex will also make use of a gas-powered air conditioning system that will come with an estimated price tag of $385,000, although city staff anticipates that initial investment to be recouped in savings after seven to 10 years.
City leaders originally looked at the reconstruction of a recreation center at Morningside as early as 1997, when $3.1 million was allocated to the Pennies for Pinellas II project list. However, construction costs rose significantly, and in 2008 city leaders approved the removal of the building that had served as a recreation center.
During the August 2015 meeting of the council, Clearwater Parks Director Kevin Dunbar asked council members to consider using the balance of the project funds, approximately $2.8 million, for reconstruction of the facility. During that meeting, Dunbar said he expected annual operating costs coming in at $600,000. Annual revenue generated from the facility, according to Dunbar, is expected to be $225,000, with an annual subsidy from the city at a cost of $375,000.
Now, nearly two years later, the city is ready to move forward with the project after designs were submitted by a committee comprised of city staff, residents and architects with Wannemacher Jensen Architects, Inc.
Additional funding for the project will include General Fund reserves in the amount of $815,000.