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 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. 

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. 

Tentative Site Plan for Community Center:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question: I heard that City Council approved building a new Community Center. Is that true? Answer:  Not exactly. 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

In its most recent action 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 a new facility move forward.  This is a new method allowed by state law, and the notice was required of the process but does not commit the City to actually building a new facility.  The other step Council took was to approve a short term contract with a firm to provide Owner’s Representative services, as mentioned above. 

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 Community Center and Theater.  The only portion of the existing structure to remain will be the Ice Arena and associated locker rooms.   The new structure will house gymnasiums and meeting rooms, just as the current facility does, while adding a large fitness area and walking track.  The portion of the building that comprises the current Community Center and Robert G. Reim 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.  A second phase may add a smaller “Black Box” theater in the future. 

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 signaled their very strong intention to make the new Kirkwood Performing Arts Center their long-term home.  No one can guarantee the future, but the investment both groups are willing to make in the facility shows their strong desire to keep calling Kirkwood home.

Tentative Site Plan for the proposed Performing Arts Center, at the corner of Taylor and Monroe:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 current estimates are $18 million for the Community Center and $12 million for the Performing Arts Center, a total of $30 million overall.  These estimates include construction costs, design fees, and furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E). 

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.  Those bonds 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 2017, 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 grants. 

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. 

TIMELINE

Question: When will this all happen?

Answer:  The first part of the project will be the construction of the Performing Arts Center. The PAC will be built first because the current Community Center site isn’t large enough to support recreational activities and construction simultaneously and without interruption of programming. Construction of the Performing Arts Center in downtown is proposed to begin in Fall 2017. That construction is expected to last about 12 months. Opening of the new PAC in October 2018, if all goes as planned, is perfect timing for the start of the Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s Fall 2018 season.  Almost immediately after the Performing Arts Center opens, demolition of the Community Center will begin, with construction of all new areas expected to be completed in about 15 months. That puts the opening of the new Community Center early in 2020. 

Question: So will the current Community Center close before the new one opens?

Answer: The plan is to keep the current facility as functional as possible throughout the construction process.  That’s not to say that there won’t be some challenges in terms of access to the building and parking, but it should be possible to keep many of the functions and activities associated with the current facility going during construction.