Spotlight

TURKEY DAY RUN

Each year, the City of Kirkwood's Parks and Recreation Department hosts a competitive run on the morning of Thanksgiving.  Two races are involved - a 3-mile and a 6-mile course - through scenic Kirkwood and Webster Groves.  Registration for the current year typically opens in October.  For additional information, please visit the following page on this Website:

 http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/content/City-Departments/2339/turkey-day-run.aspx

Community Center Redevelopment / Proposed
Performing Arts Center

Kirkwood’s City Council is moving into the next phase of a potential redevelopment of the City’s 50-year-old Community Center and the construction of a Performing Arts Center in downtown Kirkwood. At its October 20, 2016, meeting, City Council approved a resolution accepting the proposal of Hercules Construction Management to serve as the City’s "Owner’s Representative." An Owner’s Representative will assist the City in the near term with selecting a potential Construction Management at Risk firm and assisting with negotiating a contract for design services. 

At its December 7, 2017, meeting, the City Council took the first of two critical votes necessary to fund the project. The vote authorized the issuing of bonds to fund a substantial portion of the Performing Arts and Community Centers. The next and final vote to approve these bonds will take plan on December 21, 2017. If the bonds are approved, things are in line to begin final design work in earnest, with construction to follow.

If City Council proceeds with this project, it will be a large and complex project. It is an important goal of the City’s Parks and Recreation Director and the City’s Public Information Officer to keep residents completely informed. To start off the informational process, a preliminary set of Frequently Asked Questions has been developed. More information will be coming here, in future issues of Eye on Kirkwood, in utility billing inserts, and in the City’s e-newsletters. Thank you. 

August 2017 Presentation to City Council on Community Center Redevelopment 

Proposed Schematic Designs - Performing Arts Center


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question: I heard that City Council approved building a new Community Center. Is that true? Answer:  For the past few years, the Council has been considering the future of the existing Community Center, portions of which are 50 years old. During this time the Council has taken the following actions:

  • Authorized a community survey regarding residents’ opinion on the current facility and a possible replacement or upgrade
  • Approved having feasibility, economic, and site studies done regarding replacement or upgrade of the Community Center
  • Authorized having geotechnical studies done on potential building sites for the facility

On October 20, 2016, Council took incremental steps to move the process along.  These steps included issuing a public statement that the City intends to use a “Construction Manager at Risk” process should construction of the new facilities move forward.  This is a new method allowed by state law, and the notice was required of the process but did not commit the City to actually building new facilities.  The other step Council took was to approve a short term contract with a firm to provide Owner’s Representative services, as mentioned above.  With these actions in place, design work on the Performing Arts Center and revised Community Center entered a conceptual design phase.

The most recent action of the Council, in December 2017, was to approve the issuing of $24 million in bonds that will be used to finance the Performing Arts and Community Centers. This action opens the doors to begin work in earnest on developing and implementing final plans for both facilities. Right now the plan is to construct the Performing Arts Center first, while we continue to operate the Reim Theatre. Once the PAC is completed, work can begin on updating the Community Center. 

Question: What exactly is going to be built?

Answer: The proposed plan calls for a new Community Center structure to be built in the parking lot northwest of the current Center and Theatre. The only portion of the existing structure to remain will be the large gymnasium, Ice Arena, and associated locker rooms. The new structure will house a second gymnasium and meeting rooms, just as the current facility does, while adding a large fitness are and walking track. The portion of the building that comprises the original Community Center building and Theatre will be torn down and utilized for parking once the building is complete. 

Question: I don’t see mention of the Robert G. Reim theater in the new building.  Is that going away?

Answer:  No, it’s not.  The theater will be rebuilt as a Performing Arts Center (PAC) on a City-owned site in downtown Kirkwood, at the corner of Monroe and Taylor.  Initially the PAC is proposed to have a 500-seat theater, with expanded front of house and back of house support areas, and meeting rooms and classroom and rehearsal space.  It will also include a smaller "Black Box" theatre or multi-purpose space capable of hosting smaller theatrical productions and meetings. 

Question: I keep hearing that Stages is moving to Chesterfield.  Does it make sense to build a new theater if that’s the case?

Answer:  Both Stages St. Louis and the Kirkwood Theater Guild have signed long-term agreements to utilize the new Performing Arts Center as their performance home. Each group is contributing significant amounts to help with the construction of the new facility. With these two groups the new PAC has an excellent base of user groups on which to build. 

Question: Is the new Community Center going to have an indoor pool?

Answer: After extensive discussion and consideration, an indoor aquatic facility is not being included in the plan.  Considerations involved in making this decision revolved around the impact on an already crowded site, cost to build, and in the long term, the cost to operate an indoor aquatic facility.  The availability of indoor pools at the Kirkwood YMCA, St. Louis Community College-Meramec campus, and the new pool at Kirkwood High School were also factored in.  

Question: How much is all of this going to cost?

Answer: The design for the PAC is being priced by the construction management firm. It is expected that the price tag for the PAC will reach $17 million. The balance of the current $30 million budget for the twoprojects will be allocated to the Community Center.

Question: That’s a lot of money.  How will all of that get paid for?

Answer: The plan is to borrow $24 million in bonds for 30 years.  City Council recently approved the issuing of those bonds, which will be paid back through the existing half-cent Local Parks and Storm Water sales tax.  This is the same tax used to pay for the bonds that built the Aquatic Center and enclosed the Ice Rink almost 20 years ago.  Those bonds will be retired in 2018, which means the existing sales tax revenue can be used for the proposed new facilities.  Another $3 million will be borrowed from the City’s Electric Fund reserves, and will be paid back over 20 years out of the General Fund.  An additional $3 million is expected to be raised through contributions from Stages St. Louis, Kirkwood Theater Guild, and a grant from the Municipal Park Grant Commission of St. Louis County. Additional funds to enhance the project may be generated through fundraising efforts. 

Question: Will there be some sort of public vote on the project?

Answer: Because the plan is to use existing revenue sources, no public vote is required by law.  Something to consider is that when Kirkwood citizens passed the Local Parks and Storm Water sales tax in 1998, there was no “sunset” provision included.  This signaled the desire on the part of citizens to continue to support parks and recreation services in Kirkwood in the coming years. The renovation of the aging Community Center and the development of a performing arts center are appropriate and permitted uses of this revenue.