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Committee recommends Yucca Center demolition

This file photo, dated 2015, is the front entrance of the Yucca Recreation Center at 500 S. Richardson Ave. (File Photo)

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After a lone proposal was submitted and reviewed, the Roswell City Council’s infrastructure committee voted unanimously to recommend the full council terminate re-issuance of the request for proposals for the city-owned Yucca Recreation Center.

The Yucca Center has been closed since 2016, and before that was partially closed in 2014. (Alison Penn Photo)

Councilor Caleb Grant made the motion that termination of the RFP go onto the consent agenda, and the city move forward to demolish the building. Councilwoman Jeanine Corn Best seconded with Chairman Juan Oropesa and Councilor George Peterson also voting in favor of the motion.

City Engineer Louis Najar said the only proposal received lacked details at a “slim four pages” and the $25,000 offer did not meet the reserve price of $100,000.

Najar said the city staff’s recommendation was to terminate the RFP that would allow interested parties to enter into negotiations with the city, by contacting City Manager Joe Neeb, to by and redevelop the center.

After saying the RFP was advertised and rejected twice due to poor proposals, Najar reiterated the city has performed its due diligence in accordance with the state’s procurement codes.

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Options would be for the council to give instruction at a later date to demolish the center after getting a quote or bidding it out. Councilors Grant and Best agreed they understood the Yucca Center would be demolished if the RFP process did not return results.

Oropesa said the public had opportunities to offer bids for the 106-year-old building.

Originally the council voted to tear down the Yucca at a cost of $400,000. The building had been closed since 2016, and before that was partially closed in 2014. After the demolition was voted on by the city council on Jan. 22, the city held a public forum on what should be done with the property on Feb. 20.

On March 15, the council — with newly elected officials — voted to request proposals for the second time and that went before infrastructure committee on April 23.

As far as funding for the demolition, Najar said he was unsure if the cost was included in 2019 fiscal year budget and suggested the council allow other companies to bid on the work, since the city received multiple offers originally. Najar said the city would attempt to make this process “as painless as possible” and find the best price, which he assumed would be over $60,000.

Offering another option, Grant said funds could come from the sanitation department as part of the Clean and Safe Program. Project Manager Kevin Dillon said the demolition could be funded through the program.

Mayor Dennis Kintigh said he thought the funds were included in the budget for the new Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center. Dillon said the TRUMP Administration’s tariffs led to increases in the cost of the building.

In response to Kintigh’s thought, Najar said he was correct, but the current cost of the rec center has exceeded the budget and is lacking $400,000 to finish the rec center parking lot.

“My final point would be that this neighborhood has suffered with this empty building for years now,” Kintigh said. “And it is really not fair to the residents around there for the city to continue to have a derelict structure owned by the city just sitting there, rotting away. We owe to the community, the neighborhood to clear it off and start — maybe we can market an empty lot successfully. I know there has been some talk about that, but I really would hope we could move forward with making a statement.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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