The City of Sedalia has officially declared its intent to finance the cost of the Heckart Community Center at a maximum amount of $29 million.

On Monday night, Sedalia City Council, as part of their regular meeting, passed a resolution to finance the cost of acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping a community and recreation center that will be built on the former Jennie Jaynes Stadium site on 65 Highway.

Sedalia voters approved the 78,000-square foot community center in a special election Aug. 6 by an 80 percent margin.

The ballot measure proposed a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase for public parks and storm water control. The election also asked voters to remove the sunset clause from an existing capital improvement sales tax.

The cost of the community center would not exceed $20 million, it was reported at the time. The increase in funding will pay for the principal, but not the rest of the cost.

Sue Heckart proposed to pay the interest on bonds, with naming rights to the community center. The only stipulation was that the project be completed in time for the 20th anniversary of her mother Stella's death, March 18, 2021.

The sales tax increased from three-eights to one-half cent. The extra one-eight center is estimated to bring in an additional $655,000 annually to the City to help fund construction costs through debt service, explained City Administrator Kelvin Shaw in August.

On Monday night, the City declared its intent to issue tax exempt financing for the center. It does not obligate the City to borrow one dime, Shaw noted.

Sedalia Parks & Rec has indicated they can designate up to $2 million if needed to reach the goal of three full-size gymnasiums.

And Sedalia School District 200 has indicated they can dedicate up to $6.4 million to upgrade the planned indoor pool from four to eight lanes to be able hold swimming competitions at the new community center.

Added together, the total amount would come to $28.4 million in construction costs, plus loan closing costs, Shaw explained. So that figure was rounded up to $29 million, allowing the City to have an agreement in concept.

According to notes provided by the City, “from a practical sense, the design has to be partially completed to confirm the budget so as to know how much we need to issue the financing for. Without this declaration, we would have to get the design to this point and then put the final design efforts on hold until we has the funding in place, unnecessarily delaying the project.”

Randy Kirby