Constructed in 1939, the Cottonwood Civic Center has been a central feature of Old Town for its entire existence.
Most recently, prior to the construction of the Cottonwood Recreation Center, it hosted the vast majority of indoor recreational programming. However, since the city of Cottonwood’s acquisition of the building during incorporation in 1960, the building has seen few updates and benefited from only a bare bones approach to maintenance.
The building is shut down, inaccessible to the public and, more importantly from a revenue-generating standpoint, unavailable to rent for events.
On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Cottonwood City Council approved a $334,450 contract with Flagstaffbased Kinney Construction Services to begin the first phase of a $619,450 renovation to the civic center. Funding for both phases of the project comes via two separate Community Development Block Grants: A 2015 CDBG Regional Account grant, which provided approximately $309,000 and a 2017 CDBG grant awarded by the Yavapai Board of Supervisors for $285,000.
The first phase of the civic center’s renovation, using $334,450 of CDBG regional grant and city funds, will include:
- Wheelchair lift: $20,897
- ADA-accessible restroom: $36,618
- Ceiling and stair demolition: $12,465
- Fire suppression system: $64,496
- Electrical and lighting: $185,752
- Contingency funds: $14,222
The unscheduled second phase, using $285,000 of CDBG Yavapai County funds, will include:
- Windows: $25,366 n HVAC units: $235,644
- Tile flooring in the basement bathrooms: $5,644
- Stone wall and railings renovation: $2,568
- Contingency funds: $15,778
The council did not come to unanimous agreement over proceeding with the contract.
Councilwoman Tosca Henry, the sole council member to vote nay, lamented that the 2015 grant for $309,000 fell short of the contracted amount for the first phase, resulting in the city funding $25,000 of the project. That money will come via an approximately $200,000 rebate from the city switching to a new health insurance pool.
“It’s still a luxury, not a necessity,” Henry said, adding that she would not like to lose grant money by turning down the contract but felt there are more pressing concerns for the city.
Ultimately, Henry endorsed working on the project “as funds become available.”
Mayor Timothy Elinski, who in 2014 spent a week remodeling the front lobby of the civic center on his “own dime to raise awareness of the need to invest some money into the maintenance of this community jewel,” spoke of his desire to see the building renovated and become a source of revenue for the city.
“I think, if we don’t invest in this now, we’ll regret it .... two to three years down the line,” Assistant City Manager Rudy Rodriguez said, adding that if the city put off the decision the price of renovation “may balloon.”
According to Rodriguez, if the price rose substantially the city would have no way to recover what was lost by turning down grant money in favor of not dipping into city funds to complete the project.
Rodriguez, who admitted reticence about committing city funds that could go elsewhere, said, “We stand to lose more money in the long run.”
Both Henry and City Manager Doug Bartosh noted that the contract did not cover audio-visual equipment — a necessity, Henry noted, for people looking to rent the civic center to make presentations.
“There will be the need for more technology, and furniture probably, as well,” Bartosh said.