by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — City council members are scheduled to get an update on the Recreation Building RFP (request for proposals) process during their meeting tonight, April 13.
The meeting will start with an executive session at 5 p.m. in the city manager’s conference room, then regular session will begin at 6:30 in the city council chambers, according to the website montpelier-vt.org.
Some residents have been vocal in their concern about what will happen to the recreation building located at 55 Barre Street, as evidenced by multiple calls and emails to The Bridge. One person said he plays basketball there regularly, another said his children use the programs there and yet another person is getting up a petition concerning what they assume is an impending sale. However, Assistant City Manager Jessie Baker said a sale is not a foregone conclusion, rather, city administrators are simply putting out feelers to learn of possible ways to parlay the building into capital, and in turn fund some kind of facility, which could be used to house multiple recreational programs.
“As you know, there is an RFP on the street to explore selling the building,” Baker told The Bridge April 13. She has shown the building in person to three people and has spoked to three additional people, but no proposals have been received, yet. Proposals are due Friday, April 15. Once the proposals are opened, council members will get a chance to see what ideas are out there and weigh any change that might be made by accepting a proposal against disrupting the current public use of the facility.
“There is a lot of concern that the city is selling the building,” Baker said, but she explained it needs expensive structural improvements. Putting out a request for proposals allows city officials to see if they can get some money to fund a better recreation plan.
“This conversation is part of the larger conversation about bringing in an integrated community service, (which would incorporate) the recreation center, the Montpelier Senior Activities Center and the Parks Department. This would ideally center on a way to provide “life cycle” intergenerational services that provides services to all ages.
Other issues to be discussed at the April 13 meeting are zoning, council goals, taxi ordinance pertaining to the cab company Uber and a website report.