OLC moving forward on storage building, electrical project after state grant finalized

Posted: May. 15, 2013 6:13 pm Updated: May. 29, 2013 7:15 pm

By MATT HOPFHerald-Whig Staff Writer

The Oakley-Lindsay Center will seek a second round of bids to build a new storage building at Fourth and Kentucky after confirming an $800,000 state grant for the project.

Executive Director Rob Ebbing told the Quincy Civic Center Authority on Wednesday that the OLC has signed documents assuring the grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

"We've been given the green light to start our process of rebidding the entire project," Ebbing said.

The project will also extend the facility's east parking lot and make electrical improvements to the facility's exhibition halls. Ebbing said the electrical upgrades are needed to meet heavier electrical demands during events at the OLC.

The storage building was projected to cost $571,250 when it was bid in 2010. With only $100,000 set aside for the building, officials backed off the project because of the cost.

Tony Crane of Architechnics said new bid documents could be ready to take the project out for bids by as early as next month.

"I would hope that we could get (the project) done within the next 12 months," Ebbing said. "That's the initial time frame we set in the grant application."

Officials have said they needed more storage space to handle the events. Equipment that can't be stored in the OLC is now stored in rented space. Previously, it was stored in trailers in the south parking lot.

The grant is part of the state's civic center renewal program and does not require a match from the Civic Center Authority.

The authority also approved 2 percent raises for its employees after members balked at 4 percent raises offered in the original $1.77 million budget approved in April. The raises were tabled to allow authority members more time to consider them.

Member Tony Sassen said he couldn't approve 4 percent raises for the staff.

"Nobody is getting 4 percent raises in this economy," Sassen said. "I'm not saying they don't deserve it. I don't think it would be prudent that we would sit there and come up with 4 percent when the highest I've seen is 2 percent through the city or any private company that I'm aware of."

The authority has eight full-time employees.

"Even though we are in a down economy, we're (working) to grow our sales and operation at the civic center and improving our cash flow and bottom line," Ebbing said.

The board also agreed to offer a new three-year lease agreement to the Great River Economic Development Foundationn, which has its office in the OLC. GREDF will be able to chose between a three-year deal, which would increase rent 2 percent each year, or a one-year lease with a 3 percent rent hike.

"Historically, we've been 4 percent for a one-year renewal increase and 3 percent per year for a three-year contract," Ebbing said.

GREDF proposed the three-year deal, which authority members agreed to have Ebbing also offer to the Quincy Society of Fine Arts and the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is in the last year of its lease.

As of April 30, GREDF pays $14,225 annually for rent, while the QSFA pays $13,249 and the Chamber of Commerce $13,047.

The arts organization has signed a one-year agreement with the OLC at 4 percent, but the authority instructed Ebbing to lower it to 3 percent.

Ebbing also told the authority that the Bank of Quincy has agreed to cover the costs to install traditional seating in the field-level box seats at QU-Stadium, where the Quincy Gems play, instead of plastic seats now being used.

"It's going to give the box seat customer a very nice, comfortable, true baseball feel," he said.

For covering the $36,000 improvement, the bank will receive a five-year advertising promotion from the Gems.