CIRCLEVILLE — Members of Circleville City Council have expressed interest in speeding up the renovations of Ted Lewis Park by taking out a low interest loan.
Gayle Spangler, city auditor, said based on discussions she’s had with the bond agent the best way to achieve this would be to take out a note for the next couple of years and then consolidate them into a long-term loan once the project is complete.
“Since the project is a three-year-plus project, you don’t want to borrow all the money up front because if you don’t get it done in three years you will have what they call arbitrage which we get a low interest rate so we’d have to pay some of it back,” she said. “The recommendation is that we borrow a note. We did notes when we built Clark Drive and the connector. We renewed them each year and then when the project is done you roll them all into one 20-year debt and we’d do the same thing here.”
Spangler said during the finance committee meeting the city would begin the process of doing that by requesting $1.5 million which should complete the second phase of renovations.
“The bond ordinance is going to be very general, to make all kinds of improvements to Ted Lewis, from infrastructure to electric to the shelter houses, and will allow virtually anything you want to do to Ted Lewis,” Spangler said. “If you need more money at the end of the first year, you’ll rollover $1.5 million and add additional money if that’s council’s desire. You can do that for up to five years until it’s completely done. At that time we’ll roll it into that 20-year debt.”
Frazier said the initial note would complete the work in the northeast corner of the park, known as phase two of the park’s master plan that was developed in 2015 after community input and surveys.
“Phase two is the playground equipment, splash pad, walkways and quite a bit of landscaping to get the base out of the flood plane,” he said. “That’s estimated to cost about $900,000 and this will give us additional money for what we chose to do next.”
Spangler said the money would be borrowed at less than 0.6 percent.
“It’s not great on our investment side but it’s great for borrowing,” she stated. “I anticipate that we’d borrow around a half percent. If you want to finish the project and borrow the money to do it, now is the time.”
David Crawford, council president, asked Frazier when the project would be completed under this financial timeline.
“I would like to, provided we get the funding, to complete it in a three-year time period,” Frazier remarked. “The splash pad and playground equipment would be completed or have significant progress by this time next year.”
The matter was forwarded on to full council for consideration during their Sept. 15 meeting.