The below questions were submitted by our residents. We have provided an answer for each question in an effort to provide additional information on the proposed Community Center Complex. Use the link provided to submit your question!
Q: I appreciate that there have been a number of open informational sessions wherein one-on-one conversation with town officials and hired consultants was possible. That was quite helpful. At the end of that though, prior to any bond resolution, there absolutely needs to be a single sit-down town-wide meeting. This should be a formal presentation with a opportunity for people in the community to openly ask questions and hear unfiltered answers. A town meeting means it all happens live and everyone interested hears both sides of every question/answer. That doesn’t occur in your “small groups” informational sessions.
A: While most here are questions and answers, we felt it important enough to address this comment. Your point is well taken, however in the past we have found that attendance is poor at best when a single public meeting is held, as you suggest. For a number of reasons many people cannot attend who may want to attend. For this reason, we decided to have several “open house” type meetings at different times of the day to include everyone as best we can.
Q: I understand that this Q&A page on the town website affords some ability to ask questions. The questions are edited and screened, though—not everything gets published or answered, and any query too uncomfortable can be dodged without anyone (except the asker) the wiser.
A: Questions are copied verbatim, all questions are posted, none excluded regardless of our comfort level of the question.
Q: Additionally, by the very nature, the audience here is extremely limited with more than a little inherent selection bias. Many Seniors, for example, are not comfortable with the “social media approach” of running town discussions online. They are also a primary group to be served by the new site who might have some salient ideas about its design and location. Seniors may also, because of fixed incomes, be a group that is especially concerned with the debt and tax implications.
A: Understanding that the Senior population may have some concerns and not able to attend some of the meetings, they had asked the Supervisor to visit them on a few of their busier days at the Senior Center to ask questions. That has happened and can happen again if requested.
Q: If you are asking people in the town to borrow nearly $20 million, there really needs to be a town-wide meeting with formal presentation and open live discussion. It is frankly essential.
A: Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
Q: So just when was the public (taxpayers) invited to comment on or suggest what they think should be included. Will it be similar to the Henrietta Recreation Center with walking track upstairs and the 1st floor multipurpose such toddler gym, a year long preschool on site? Will non-residents be able to use if they pay a fee for a year’s unlimited use. Are there going to be lockers and showers available to all? Will there be an elevator for those who use walkers or canes so they can use the track on 2nd floor? How many parking spots will be marked handicapped? Will a traffic device be installed to ease congestion? As for the ‘Project Introduction’ seminar — it was a waste of time. Why not have a power point presentation with what was displayed on the easels with a verbal explanation from town officials and others involved in the process followed by at least a 30 min Q&A? Not everyone has a computer at home; if there was a mailing or survey, did all taxpayers get a chance to respond. It doesn’t seem to be centrally located within town boundaries.
A: There are 6 public meetings scheduled, 4 of which have taken place. The next meeting will be held at the Community Center in North Chili (4400 Buffalo Rd.) on May 23rd from noon to 3pm and again from 5pm to 8pm. Public input is welcome and encouraged. The floor plans are available on this web site, but yes — there will be a walking track. Use of the facility will be first for Chili residents and Town programs with no fees planned. Nonresidents may be allowed use of the track during normal operating hours. Lockers and showers are part of the current plan. There will be an elevator and handicapped parking. No traffic light is being proposed. The location is almost dead center of town.
Q: How is the library area actually allotted to books changing?
A: The library will determine what goes in what spaces and how much of any one thing. They are adding significant space to provide more book space if necessary.
Q: Do the financing amounts include the cost of renovating the current library into a new Town Court or would that need to be a separate issue?
A: No. We will use building reserves to fund that renovation.
Q: When did planning for this project begin? How was this particular site and time to act chosen? Who was involved in the planning for this project?
A: We began our conceptual planning around the middle of 2016. This site was selected through process of elimination with the property we currently own in the referred center of town. Along with out consultants, our planning committee consisted of Library, Senior Center, Recreation Staff, the Town Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor/Councilman. We selected this particular time due to most of all Town debt was to be paid by the end of this year, lessening the burden on taxes.
Q: Will the gym include indoor Pickleball courts?
A: At this time, these types of specific activities have not been fully vetted. Once we are able to get into the actual engineering of the facility, things like this will be discussed.
Q: In one of the questions it is noted the plan is to “sell the current Senior Center and use funds to buy down financing of the new facility”. What type of development does the Town envision for that site? Taking into consideration there are other properties for sale along Chili Avenue within Chili Center, I am concerned that we are over developing Chili Center. The addition of the Community Center plus additional “developments” could have significant impact on the traffic flow and walkability of Chili Center.
A: At present, we do not know what type of development might take place on the site if sold. Anything that would go there would be thoroughly vetted by our Planning Board and Building Department. Our Chili Center Master Plan has addressed some of the concerns you mention and our Planning Board has given very serious consideration to that Plan when development is proposed in the Chili Center area.
Q: The document entitled “Summary of Financing Options” listed under Project Documents notes the tax impact pursuant of the borrowing amount. What is not indicated is the additional costs of building such a facility. For example, will there be additional grounds and maintenance staff hired to maintain the building? Will additional Senior Center and Recreation Staff be hired to accommodate the envisioned new growth of programming? What are the energy costs of such a building? Insurance costs? With new employees comes salary, retirement, health insurance, etc. What are the projected costs beyond the building costs and what is the tax implication then?
A: At this time we anticipate one additional position (someone in the reception area). Given the age and inefficiencies of our current facilities, and today’s advances we don’t anticipate any major changes in energy costs. Minimal, if any changes to insurance costs. Grounds maintenance will again be a minimal change if any.
Q: The estimated renovation costs for the Senior Center are $1.65 million. The estimated renovation costs for the Buffalo Rd. Community Center is $1.32 million. That is a total of $2.97 million for renovations. The total borrowing cost for a new community center is $20 million. That is a significant price difference. The summary of financing does not indicate any state or federal funded grant income. Has the town explored grant funding to improve the state of the current Senior Center and current Community Center? Has the town considered grant opportunities to offset the $20 million burden of a new community center on tax payers?
A. We continually look for grant money to support any projects. We will be exploring at least one that we know will be open for applications in 2019. Should any other opportunities arise we will most certainly look to take advantage of them.
Q. The town has provided information on the design of a new community because of the “growing demand” of our community. What exactly is the demand? Besides project designs, I would like to see data proving the NEED of a new facility. Architectural drawings are nice and feel good but where is the proof?
A. While there is no specific document we can direct you to, we currently have to lease space from Roberts Wesleyan College, Gates-Chili HS & Churchville-Chili HS for program space. We find we have to turn people away (limit attendance) from many of our events due to limited space.
Q: Will this open the possibility of a before school care option for SAFE Churchville-Chili School District?
A: It’s too early to say what additional or new programs we may be able to support.
Q: Was there any discussion or can there still be any discussion regarding turf fields or a pool?
A: Both were discussed and neither have been selected as options for this project.
Q: This location seems so set back into the property and won’t be seen from the road. Would it be able to be located more into the center of the Memorial Park and place the baseball and soccer field where the Community Center is proposed? Also, will all the older Dept of Highway buildings be removed for a better entrance esthetic? Are those buildings still being used?
A: We studied a variety of locations in the park area, none proved to be suitable for this building. No decisions have been made on the use or demolition of our existing structures. We are currently using the buildings for storage, any future use will be evaluated during the design phase.
Q: Would it be possible to consider a pool or spray park into this design?
A: We already have a spray park located at the Union Station Park, so a second would not be feasible or practical. Pools become a long term maintenance/cost issue. We are not considering a pool.
Q: Is the architecture of the project design & floor plan fully conceptual? What time frame will designs be finalized and groundbreaking begin?
A: Yes they are conceptual at this time. If the bonding is approved, we anticipate groundbreaking around this time next year (2019).
Q: There are so many vacant buildings in Chili already. Is there concern that when trying to sell currently used buildings, they too will remain vacant?
A: No, we are not concerned. Both locations are prime commercial properties. Of the few vacant buildings we have now, with the exception of the former Walgreens, we don’t anticipate them being vacant for long.
Q: I see what you are doing, but I’m not sure why.
A: Our current facilities are outdated and in need of some very costly repairs and renovations, the cost which exceeds the value of the property. Our Community Center is too small to support the community desired programs and activities. Our Senior Center is so active we often have to turn folks away for programs. The new Center will give us the space needed to serve the demands of our growing community. Investing in a new Complex is a better investment than overspending to repair outdated facilities that, once done, will still not serve the demands of the community.
Q: Will residents have to pay to use the fitness/basketball courts/walking track?
A: No. However, any programs which currently require a fee will continue to require a fee.
Q: What will the cost be to residents to use the Community Center?
A: No cost for the use. However, reserving a space or time may require a minimal fee.
Q: Have any considerations been made to have the entrance off of Chili Avenue instead of Old Scottsville-Chili Road, or in addition to? A new community center will bring in significant traffic that entrance is already a busy walking area in the Spring and Summer with people walking to the playground and baseball fields. Also, the majority of community center traffic will be coming from Chili Avenue and traffic will become backed up to Chili Avenue with people attempting to turn left into that proposed entrance. The entrance to the park is already blocked at times currently with cars waiting to turn right or left onto Chili Avenue.
A: Final site plans have yet to be developed. We will look at every option for access. What you are seeing now is conceptual.
Q: Will a walking track be included?
Q: What happens to the gym floor when you have to put chairs on it?
A: Today’s gymnasium floors are made to withstand some pretty good abuse. Chairs and tables will not damage the floor.
Q: Can additional parking be added closer to the building, especially for seniors?
A: Yes. Once we get to the final planning stages those considerations will be critical.
Q: Can the new Complex be built closer to Old Chili-Scottsville Road?
A: No. During our two-year study of this project it was determined the currently proposed site is best for a facility of this size and nature.
Q: Can a canopy be added to the front for all people to be dropped off out of the elements?
A: We can take that under consideration during final design.
Q: Why do we need a new library? Isn’t the current facility fairly new?
A: It’s not that we ‘need’ a new Library. The intent is to sell the current Senior Center building, and use those funds to buy down the financing of the new facility. We would then move the Court to the current Library location.
Q: Don’t we still owe money on the Town Hall?
A: Yes. However, that will be paid off by the end of 2018.