$1.6 Million Park Shelter Too Expensive - Urbandale Councilman
Tom Gayman voted against a $1.6 million shelter house and tornado safe room in Walker Johnston Park, but the Urbandale City Council Tuesday approved pursuing a redesign toward a federal grant that would pay for half the cost.
Urbandale Tom Gayman was on the losing side of the 4-1 vote to redesign drawings for a new shelter house, but he wanted to make his opposition clear Tuesday night.
The $1.6 million project will replace the 1959 shelter in Walker Johnston Park. The city already had preliminary designs for a $800,000 shelter, but the council decided last spring to pursue a more expensive shelter after learning it was eligible for a federal grant that would pay half the cost.
Gayman said he has opposed the project in the past, saying that even $800,000 is too expensive. Instead, he said he would favor a $400,000 to $450,000 building that could be built affordably using Urbandale High School's bullding trades program.
"(Paying) $1.5, $1.6 million, at the end of the day, for a shelter house is just too much," said Gayman, noting that the building will cost $220 per square foot.
The council had been planning to build an $800,000 shelter house, but last year learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had grant money available to building public storm or tornado shelters.
Urbandale City Manager A.J. Johnson said the council voted to pursue that grant last spring. The city recently learned it qualified for the first phase of the grant, and will receive $6,460 from the agency toward redesigning the building.
The city had already spent $85,300 for the original design, but on Tuesday night the council approved spending another $35,086 to redesign it.
Johnson said the city will be able to provide storm protection at the regional park, which is used by hundreds of people on warm-weather weekends. And, the building will be easier to maintain and will last longer for the about the same amount the city intended to spend originally, he said.
Council members Mike Carver, John Forbes, Ron Pogge and Mary Polson voted for the redesign.
You can cast your vote on whether the city should build the storm shelter in our informal poll.