By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Officials at the Oakley-Lindsay Center are continuing to work out kinks related to a new state requirement for a grant to fund upgrades.
The OLC was awarded a $800,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for an $855,000 project to build a storage building at the northeast corner of Fourth and Kentucky, along with a new parking lot and electrical upgrades to the exhibition halls.
The state is requiring contractors to submit a Business Enterprise Program plan that guarantees that 8 percent of the project be subcontracted to minority- and women-owned businesses.
Rob Ebbing, executive director of the Oakley-Lindsay Center, told the Quincy Civic Center Authority on Wednesday that the three contractors hired for the project submitted the plan in November and surpassed the goal. The OLC project is the first grant in the state that has been assigned to the program.
"We're working through (DCEO), and they're working through the Capital Development Board, and we're trying to get through all the different levels to get all the information satisfied so they can release the balance of the funds," he said.
Payments totaling about $300,000 for the projects are pending. The authority already has spent the first $200,000 installment. Ebbing said the state has not given the OLC an idea of when the rest of the funds could be released.
He said the contractors have been understanding as program navigation continues.
"We're keeping them up to date on what we do know and how it is going," he said.
In other authority business Wednesday, a contract was approved for new lighting in the OLC exhibition halls that could reduce electric consumption by 60 percent. The authority accepted Springfield Electric's low bid of $72,424 for the Holophane LED High Bay lights.
OLC staff will install the new lights, and the cost includes training on the new lighting, which is controlled wirelessly. Staff will now be able to control the lights from a computer, iPad or a smartphone.
"It's going to be very flexible," Ebbing said. "It's going to save us energy dollars, so it's going to be a win-win all the way around."
The new lighting also will save staff time. Right now if a customer wants certain lights in the exhibition halls turned off, a worker has to use a scissor lift to unplug the light from the ceiling. After the installation, the task will be done with a computer command.
The OLC has been awarded a $32,000 grant from the DCEO and a $24,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Community Foundation to help fund the lighting project. The rest will be paid through the authority's bond budget.
Preparations also continue for Quincy Gems baseball this summer, though the team has been on the market since October after it lost more than $91,000 last season.
"We still have three of the original (six) groups still observing, and they're all saying they want to observe the summer and see how we do," Ebbing said. "They're looking at how their organizations that they're trying to put together fall together."
He said he had hoped a sale could happen this spring but realized that was a long shot when the team was put on the market.