Resolution related to financing joint indoor aquatics center on Oct. 6 Commission agenda

City Commissioners will consider a resolution during their Oct. 6 meeting for finances related to the planned Aim High/Big Sky Recreation facility.

The city has received a $10 million grant through the Office of Economic Adjustment in the Defense Department toward the $20 million indoor aquatics and recreation facility planned for construction near Malmstrom Air Force Base.

City has been awarded $10 million grant for indoor aquatics facility

The resolution, if approved, would allow reimbursement by bond proceeds for costs associated with the design and construction of the aquatics facility that occur before the bond issuance.

The resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds and fixing terms and conditions for the estimated $10 million in project costs will be presented in the future, according to the city staff report.

City, GFPS planning land swap for aquatics facility, parking

The project, according to city documents, will including the “design, construction, equipping and furnishing of a 50,000 square foot recreation center, including a lap pool, a therapeutic pool, a recreational/training pool, general open fitness areas, an indoor gym space, drop-off child care, classrooms and ancillary support facilities. The site will include an entry plaza with drop-off space, a private patio adjacent to the recreational pool and 142 parking spaces. Due to the size of the property, additional outdoor recreational facilities such as a playground, basketball court, open gathering space and additional parking would be constructed as well as a secondary point of access.”

City, GFPS discussing possible parkland swap for proposed aquatics facility

The city will receive $10 million from the federal grant and fund the other $10 million for the project will come from park maintenance district funds.

The plan for the new facility would be a combined aquatics and recreational facility, with room for expansion on the 10-acre parcel of land the city is acquiring from the school district near the base. City Manager Greg Doyon said in September that the city is also planning to include a commercial area in the project, such as a restaurant or coffee shop, that could generate stable lease revenue toward operation of the facility.

City seeking proposals for aquatics project

The city will own and operate the facility. Because it’s a federal grant with the purpose of improving the quality of life for the military community at Malmstrom Air Force Base, the city identified property near the base for the project, which is also accessible by public transportation.

In previous public meetings, city officials said the city would need to issue debt service for up to $10 million against the park maintenance district.

Commission votes to apply for $10 million federal grant for joint aquatics facility; use park district funds to match

Currently, the park maintenance district assess $1.5 million annually and the city would use those funds from year three onward to cover the debt service payments.

Debt service scenarios for 15-year revenue bonds at 4 percent would be:

  • For a $5 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $450,000
  • For a $7 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $630,000
  • For a $10 million bond, the annual debt payment would be $900,000

The city will be required to manage, operate and maintain the facility without additional financial support from the Air Force, aside from standard user fees or partnership agreements, according to the city staff report.