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Hardeeville OKs $6.5M for recreational facility

Hardeeville took a step toward building a multipurpose recreational facility during its city council meeting last week.

“One of the city’s main goals this current fiscal year and moving forward is to build a multipurpose recreational facility,” City Manager Mike Czymbor said. “The city hired a construction company (Bobbitt Design) and they have done tentative building plans and estimated the costs. We have worked with the bond council and financial advisor to develop a request for proposal to borrow up to $6.5 million for the project.”

Council unanimously approved first reading of an ordinance to approve a bid from BB&T for a 15-year fixed rate of 3.1 percent, allowing the city to borrow the funds. Czymbor said the money borrowed will go toward construction costs of the building, a potential land purchase, and/or the renovation or expansion of city hall.

“The whole plan here is this debt service will be served by A-Tax (hospitality and accommodations fee revenue) funds because we are using this to promote tourism into the city of Hardeeville and this is not coming from property tax proceeds,” Mayor Harry Williams said.

Williams said the city had “more than enough” funds each year to meet the debt service. He said there’s $900,000 in A-Tax funds available and he expects those funds to continue to replenish each year throughout the length of the loan as more people move into the area.

The yearly debt on the loan, he said, would be $498,000, to be paid using A-tax funds. There were no public comments during the public hearing. Council will have second reading and second public hearing during the city’s next meeting Thursday. Jan. 18.

City Parks and Recreation Director Addison Jarrell said the basic plans had been drawn for an indoor recreation community center as a part of the capital improvement plan.

“The plans include three NCAA regulation basketball courts, classroom space, a fitness center, a stage for performances, and two racquetball courts,” Jarrell said.

Also in the tentative plans, Jarrell said there will be areas that could be rented for events. He said the city hopes to partner with local organizations to offer youth and adult athletics, fitness classes, after-school classes and childcare. The facility would be open to the public and there would be set hours for the gym.

East Argent projects moves forward

In other business, council approved second and final reading on two ordinances which allows the East Argent development to get underway. Within the ordinances, the developers will have a maximum for 9,500 homes in their new development.

The final agreement allows the developers to increase their original 1,392 acres of commercial land by an additional 50 acres, with the total acreage remaining the same at 7,351 acres. The updated per-unit cost for development fees would also increase from $6,171 to $8,393, helping the city to pay for impacts on public services. Within the agreement there are also fees for commercial properties. The city and the developers also agreed to negotiate where the city has the flexibility to immediately use the development fees to pay for new demands that would be placed on the city to provide services in that development.

Council agreed the process went well among the developer (Argent Land Holdings) and the city.

“One of the great parts about what you have done, and with the city, is that we’ve answered the questions and there are no follow-up questions,” Mayor Williams said.

When the final ordinances were approved, Williams and councilwoman Carolyn Kassell stood up and applauded the new development as other council members also applauded. “People are happy with it and everybody is looking forward to this project and all of the good benefits it brings to this region,” Williams said.

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