Frankfort residents got a sneak peek of which projects the city commission is looking to shell out money for in the near future at Monday’s long-term planning meeting. Though no official vote was taken city leaders listed a new YMCA and animal shelter among their top priorities and directed staff to prepare budget amendments to help fund the projects.
Over a five-year period, commissioners agreed to give $2.5 million to help fund a new YMCA on Parcels B and C — the former site of the Frankfort Convention Center at Mero Street and the future Washington Street extension. The total price for the project is $9.5 million, according to YMCA officials.
City officials also inched closer to committing $1 million over three years for a new animal shelter — an issue that the city, county and Franklin County Humane Society have been volleying back and forth for years. The new facility, which would be built on Carpenter Farm off the East-West Connector, has a $4 million price tag, and the humane society is hoping the county will match the city’s contribution. However, at January’s fiscal court meeting the county’s Strategic Planning Committee recommended a $750,000 donation with or without $50,000 in in-kind donations for the animal shelter.
One hot-button topic noticeably missing among the city’s priority projects is funding for synthetic turf fields at the three local high schools and/or Capitol View Park. In January, the superintendents from both local school districts asked the city commission for $1.5 million to fund synthetic turf fields at the three area high schools after visitors at October’s 11th Region Boys Soccer Tournament were quick to vocalize their displeasure with the state of the field and facilities at the park. Then, a month later, Franklin County High School opted to move its playoff football game to Versailles due to poor conditions on its home field.
From a preliminary perspective it looks as though the city’s $17.9 million in reserve won’t stretch as far as leaders had hoped, with staff projecting that reserve funds in coming years will fall well below a minimally acceptable $12 million. None of the budget amendments is set in stone. The city commission will have the first readings at its next meeting on Monday.