The new members of the Mesquite City Council and new mayor aren’t so new anymore.
They took office just under 15 months ago, but have made an impact, many times responding to public pressure.
The scheme to build an outdoor amphitheater in the canyon adjacent to the Mesquite Sports & Event Center, MSEC, up on the bluff above Sun City Mesquite was scrapped, and the contract with Nevada Community Solutions, NCS, was severed. Neither NCS nor the amphitheater proposal had a lot of public support. But a new plan to help Mesquite’s struggling economy during the sweltering summer months was proposed.
Boeing Company had a huge steel and fabric structure it had been using as a hangar for experimental aircraft in Seattle that it wanted to sell. City staff though it might be a good deal and a solution to the summer doldrums. The structure, able to house four soccer fields, could provide an event center out of summer’s heat.
Public response was primarily positive. The Mesquite Chamber of Commerce frequently urged its members to attend council meetings to support the plan. There were a few objections to its proposed location at the MSEC and a potential noise problem with Sun City residents. But most comments at the council meetings came from business people, who said if something wasn’t done by summer 2012, they faced going out of business.
We’ve made it through that summer and did lose some businesses, but new ones also opened.
In the months since the Mesquite Indoor Sports Center, MISC, was proposed, the plan changed. The council agreed to seek Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) from companies that wanted to submit their own plans for an indoor facility. In January of this year, two finalists were selected and asked to submit Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
Those RFPs were submitted Aug. 22 and staff began evaluating them.
But all of the praise and encouragement to seek a MISC may not be enough. The council is scheduled to select a finalist for the project on Tuesday, Sept. 25, or reject the project altogether.
And city staff is recommending the council not select a finalist and not pursue the project further. How to pay for the project seems to be the stumbling block.
There are two finalists. Pride Contractors has estimated it could do the work for about $8 million; Core Construction estimates the work to run closer to $10 million.
Aaron Baker, the Interim Economic Development Director for the city, told the council Tuesday, Sept 18, during its technical review meeting, that if the council votes to proceed with the project, staff recommends the more costly Core proposal.
He explained that Core was judged to have the better proposal and overall cost was only 30 percent of the judging criteria. But funding sources for the project have changed or been reduced over the past year.
“Staff does not feel that the City of Mesquite has sufficient funds to build the indoor sports center as proposed,” he wrote in background information provided to the council.
But the council has yet to vote on the matter. And we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see how much public support for the MISC project shows up.
Regardless of the support, the costs appear too high, and the benefits questionable.
But there’s a cost to that, as well. The finalists were required to submit plans that took the project to 30-percent completion.
That kind of detail is expensive for a company. Finalists who are not selected will receive a $25,000 compensation for that work. If both are rejected and the project halted, the cost would be $50,000.
The council certainly will hear from the community about the proposal. Some will agree the estimated costs are prohibitive. But some people still may support the MISC and ask the council to select a finalist.