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Milton to consider renovating Community House

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
April 20, 2011
— The Milton City Council on Tuesday night approved a request from city staff to get bids for design work on renovation of the Milton Community House.

The work could be the first step in a plan to turn the Community House into a future office for the Milton Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, officials said.


The Community House, a former train depot built in 1914 and located at 20 Parkview Drive in the city’s eastside downtown, is city-owned and is used as a rental space for community events.


A community steering committee, the Goodrich Square committee, has worked for the last seven months on a multi-phase plan to redevelop parking, streets and park space in the city’s eastside downtown and in Goodrich Park.


The committee said it has decided to focus on work in North Goodrich Park first, where the Community House is located, because the park is located in the historic core of the city.


Milton Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Director Christina Slaback, who is a member of the Goodrich Square committee, on Tuesday told the city council the committee believes the Community House is a centerpiece in redeveloping Goodrich Park.


The committee is seeking architectural plans and construction costs for renovations and an addition to the Community House, which would:


-- Create office space to house the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.


-- Enhance the building’s community rental space, giving it seating for at least 100 people.


-- Include interior and exterior work that would mimic architecture of the early 1900s.


-- Include space for displays showcasing Milton history.


Bids for architectural work could be sent to the council for approval by June 7, according to city documents. That means design work could start in early June and could be completed in July or August, officials said.


City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said the city still is reviewing whether it could use tax increment financing money to repay improvements to Community House.


In any case, Schuetz has said that immediate funding for any city projects this year would probably have to come from dual-purpose bonds the city floated earlier this month for projects.


Schuetz has said improvements in downtown Milton likely would have to compete for funding with other city projects.


During a public comment period Tuesday night, Milton resident Fred Hookham questioned renovations at the Community House, saying that in his opinion the work “didn’t even make the top 25 on what we have to do.”


City council member Brett Frazier asked city staff for more information on the renovations, saying he wants to make sure money the city spends on improvements in the eastside downtown would create a catalyst for future growth.


Frazier said he wants to set up joint meetings between the city council and the Goodrich Square committee so that the two sides can collaborate.


“I think it’s important that the council take a stand and lay out priorities for the committee so that as they’re operating, they know that they have the backing of the council. We ultimately have to approve any expenditures or really any action,” Frazier said.



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