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Planners see capital plan

The Planning Commission on Monday got its first look at a Capital Improvements Plan that includes proposals for a new central library and a joint operations facility.

The Capital Improvements Plan is an outline of the capital projects the city expects to need in the next 10 years. The first year of the final plan becomes a part of the city manager’s budget recommendation to City Council.

Along with the mayor and vice mayor, Planning Commission members Arthur Singleton and Mills Staylor were a part of the subcommittee that helped develop the plan.

“Having been a part of the committee, I thought it was really realistic,” Staylor said. “The city does a fabulous job at getting support for projects. I’m looking forward to everything. Things look good.”

The first year of the proposed plan totals $72.17 million, including $4.7 million for a joint operations facility.

The structure is intended to be split between the city police and the Parks and Recreation departments. The building will consist of a four-bay area for the police department’s equipment and vehicles, and 23,000 square feet for parks and recreation maintenance offices, equipment and vehicles.

A new $15 million central library also is proposed in the plan. The new library would be located on land the city already owns on West Washington Street in downtown, and it would replace the aging Morgan Memorial Library building. It would be funded in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The joint operations facility will start and finish sooner than the library. The project is slated to begin in the 2019 fiscal year, the first year of the plan. The facility is planned to get all of its funding in the first year of the plan.

The remainder of the plan includes almost 70 other major projects for the city over the next five years, including major projects for the public utility fund and the storm water fund. Over half of the funds needed to complete these projects in the first year will come from state and federal money. More than a third would be funded with debt, while about 9 percent would come from the city’s general fund and other sources.

The plan will be brought up again at the Planning Commission at 2 p.m. Jan. 16, when the commission is expected to adopt a plan with any changes they might make. City Council is expected to consider the plan on Feb. 7.