City continuing to pursue grant for joint, indoor pool with Malmstrom; local firms donate services for initial concept, application

The city and Malmstrom Air Force Base are partnering to pursue a grant from the Department of Defense that would help fund construction of a new indoor aquatics and recreation facility.

To complete the 18-page application and develop early concept designs, City Manager Greg Doyon told commissioners in May that a professional consultant would be needed to make a competitive application and park district money could be used to fund those services.

City, Malmstrom partnering for grant for potential new, joint indoor aquatics facility

“There’s a lot of hoops to jump through,” Doyon said during the June 2 commission meeting.

Since then, city staff solicited proposals from three architecture firms and one contact the mayor, Doyon said.

The estimates for those services ranged from $18,500 to $30,000, Doyon said.

“One that stood out in terms of it’s quality and completeness,” Doyon said and that was a joint proposal from LPW Architecture and TD&H Engineering.

In their proposal, the team estimated their services would cost an estimated $18,500, but “our team feels this is such an important community project we are willing to donate full [architecture and engineering] service fees for the grant application submittal for the city project, so that’s awesome,” Doyon said.

The city and base officials have been discussing possible options for a joint facility since the Natatorium closed at the end of 2018.

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The Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program was first included in the 2019 defense authorization bill but without dedicated funding. Last year, Congress approved funding for the program that will be administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment and will provide federal grants to help state and local governments address infrastructure deficiencies that directly impact mission readiness and resilience in communities near military installations.

The grants will be awarded under the guidance of the Secretary of Defense and require at least a 30 percent match from a state or local government.

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Commissioners said during a May work session they support the city staff working with Malmstrom officials to pursue the grant which would allow the city and base to share the cost of constructing a new facility.

Doyon said he’ll bring the matter back before commissioners at the June 16 meeting for submittal by June 26. The Pentagon would then notify which communities are invited to submit more information about their project and communities would be notified in September if they were selected for the grant.

Grants range from $250,000 to $25 million, Doyon said.

“It’s an exciting opportunity. It would just be incredible if we were successful in the application, but even if not, I think we’re going to have a concept to look at that is going to generate a lot of excitement for sure,” Doyon said during the June 2 meeting.

The commission may need to take formal action to affirm the application so the Defense Department knows the community is series, Doyon said, and commissioners will need to commit park district dollars for debt service on half of a $20 million indoor pool and recreation facility.