Politics & Government

Macon-Bibb SPLOST work costs rising

Work paid for with the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax is about halfway complete or is in the planning and contracting stages. But some of the looming major projects may take more money than expected, Macon-Bibb County officials said Monday.

The planned Sub South recreation center likely will “far exceed” the $8.2 million allotted, Clay Murphey, SPLOST projects manager, told the SPLOST advisory committee.

The two properties bought by Bibb County for the Sub South center off Harley Bridge Road are not adjacent, Murphey said. Perhaps a recreation center could be built on one and athletic fields on the other, he said.

More features likely would have to come from future SPLOSTs, Murphey said.

Committee member Theron Ussery said residents living around the site tell him they want the Sub South complex to have the same features as recreation centers in north and east Macon.

The center’s actual features will be based on what people at three community meetings say they want, with revised plans shown in succession, Murphey said.

“There’s multiple opportunities for input,” he said. After those meetings, Macon-Bibb commissioners will have to approve the design, Murphey said.

SENIOR CENTER

Committee members still questioned the choice of the current Bloomfield community center to become the next senior citizens center, replacing the one at 1283 Adams St. But Murphy told them that commissioners already have voted to approve that location. Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said putting it at Bloomfield allows designers to include more features than if the government had to buy a building or build new.

The former Gilead Baptist Church, adjacent to the Bloomfield center, will host science, technology, engineering and math classes for young people, Murphey said. The current Bloomfield gym will become a senior gym, he said.

But details on equipment, programming and other facilities will be up to the center’s eventual users, Murphey said.

“Community meetings should start by the end of the month,” he said.

CENTREPLEX

Noble Investment Group, which manages the Macon Coliseum and City Auditorium -- known collectively with the convention center as the Macon Centreplex -- has asked that work on lighting, security systems and other desired improvements be bid out, Murphey said. The Centreplex is to get $5 million from the SPLOST, but what managers have asked for so far exceeds that allocation, he said.

Part of that was due to a higher-than-expected cost of waterproofing the auditorium, County Manager Dale Walker said.

STORM DRAINS

Work on storm drainage inside the former city limits is continuing, Murphey said, and a contract just went out for doing a closed-circuit TV survey of six downtown blocks of storm drains.

“Within the city of Macon, that is our most pressing issue, the infrastructure in the heart of downtown,” he said.

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