PLYMOUTH — The city of Plymouth is working toward a $50 million expansion of Plymouth Creek Center after deciding at its July 23 City Council meeting to not have a referendum vote on the expansion.
The city has been working on the expansion project since 2016 conducting a feasibility study and community engagement.
At its July 23 meeting, the Plymouth City Council discussed whether or not the $50 million project warranted a referendum vote and the extra costs the vote would add to the project.
The majority of the council was in agreement that a referendum was not necessary because the council was elected to make those decisions, special elections do not attract as many people and it would add $3 million to postpone the project to hold a referendum election.
Jim Willis, the council member who was in favor of a referendum, said “I agree we are elected to make hard decisions, fiscal decisions. The project we are going through tonight, I think is a very fine project. What gives me pause on this particular project is we are looking at a project in the range of $50 million, final number not really known. The problem is the council has not yet agreed on the schematic plan, we’ve seen it. We have not voted as to whether or not we support it or not. And if we don’t support it, then we have to change it."
At the end of the discussion, Mayor Jeffrey Wosje directed staff to move forward with the project without a referendum.
The next phase of the project is for the City Council to authorize the design and construction documents from the architects Hamel Green and Abragamson Inc., Wosje said. This commits the city to a $1.5 million cost.
The project will see the 30,000 square foot Creek Center that was built in 2000 be expanded to 80,000 square feet to host an indoor walking track, senior activity spaces, art spaces, health and wellness spaces and a gym, according to the city's Director of Parks and Recreation Diane Evans, who spoke at the meeting.
City staff have been working on community engagement for the last year. The Plymouth Newsletter was sent out to 30,000 residents explaining the project, the budget and the impact on property taxes. Staff attended several farmers markets and other events to engage with the public, Evans said.
More than 300 people attended an open house, spending an average of 20-30 minutes talking to council members or staff. Just over 200 feedback forms were turned in after the open house. Staff created a flash vote survey, 1,145 people participated in the survey.
Within the survey results — which can be found on the city of Plymouth’s website — 37.4 percent of participants said they strongly agree with supporting the project based on the city’s estimate of increased property taxes.
According to the the city of Plymouth's website on the project, the renovations would be finished in 2022 at the earliest.
Information about the Creek Center Renovation project can be found at https://tinyurl.com/yxql7v3y.