Jonesboro negotiates contract with construction company for YMCA

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A special meeting was held Monday by the Jonesboro City Council to discuss the recent purchase of the YMCA building off of Nettleton Avenue.

Though the city only bought the facility last week, they've already negotiated a contract with Aqua Construction International to get things rolling. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said this isn't how he naturally handles projects.

"I don't like to move fast but in this case, time was the big factor on that," Perrin said.

Since summer is quickly approaching, Perrin said they didn't have much time to figure out the next step. However, the plan is to have the YMCA back up and running by July 2nd, a tight deadline but Perrin said there's a good reason for it.

"Most pools open up by may 30th, so we've got a lot of work to do to get it ready," he said.

Throughout the years, the Jonesboro facility has seen a lot of wear and tear, meaning the center will undergo a lot of renovations. Certain parts of the center will be brought up to code, while others will be replaced altogether.

"The steel beams that were holding up the area for storage and restroom facilities over the years had rusted and corroded," Perrin told Region 8 News.

The estimated cost for turning the YMCA into a cleaner, safer facility for the Jonesboro area is around $517,000. The money that will fund that project comes from capital improvement.

Mayor Perrin said a few unexpected expenses brought up the final cost of repairs.

"ADA required lifts," Perrin said. "So we'll have an ADA lift in the children's pool as well as the large pool."

The wrought iron fence also has to be replaced.

"In the old code you could get by with a six inch gap between the wrought iron fence. Today you can only go four [inches]. So all that fencing is going to have to be taken down." Perrin said after they bring the fence up to code, they'll sandblast it and repaint it.

Perrin said with all those added expenses, an additional $50,000 - $100,000 was tacked on to the project.

"But if you look at the of the acquisition of the entire facility, and then you add this $517,000 on top of that, you're getting less than a million dollars," Perrin said. "And that includes the five additional acres, plus the building, plus the whole facility."

There were talks about the center being turned into a water park. Mayor Perrin said that idea hasn't completely been thrown out the window as the city did acquire that additional five acres in the purchase.

"So if in fact, and when funding is available and things of that nature, there is a possibility that we could do an aquatic center right there on that same facility."

All in all, Perrin said once the center is completed, not only will it be safe for children, but it will look completely different.

"All the decking will be done, all the walls will be done. All new restroom facilities, we'll have a new concession stand they've never had before and also a food court for the kids," Perrin said. "We'll have all new lighting in the facility. So I think you'll be very impressed when you see it."

Perrin said getting this project complete by July will be really great for Jonesboro.

"We'll have it ready for the JET swim team and they've already worked with putting a competition swim meet together in July. So hopefully we'll have other cities come to Jonesboro in July for competition swims."

Since they'll be opening roughly a month later than when a pool usually opens, they'll keep the center open through the month of September.