City officials believe they have come up with a way to finance the proposed new spray park in Evergreen Park.
During Monday’s regular board of aldermen meeting, City Administrator Rick Childers outlined a plan that would utilize St. Clair’s Industrial Development Authority and a 12-year payment plan for the $290,000 project.
In 1977, the Missouri Legislature authorized the establishment of municipal or county Industrial Development Authorities as an alternative to bonds being issued by a city or county. City Administrator Rick Childers said that in St. Clair’s case for the spray park project, if also approved by the IDA board, the city would sell Evergreen Park to the IDA, and the IDA would enter into a contract with Westport Pools to construct the spray park.
The IDA would, in turn, take out a loan from a bank to pay for the improvements to the park. The city then would lease the improved park back from the IDA at a rate equal to the loan payments and for the term of the loan. The bank would structure the loan as a one-year note renewable for up to a total of 12 years.
When the loan is fully repaid the city would purchase the park back from the IDA. The likely selling price will be $1 both times.
City Attorney Kurt Voss said the city has no other options but to move forward with the project in this way with the established completion deadline.
“The city’s problem is that the debt would be greater than what the park board fund could do,” he said. “This is the only mechanism I know of to get this done and opened by the desired date.”
The city has projected an opening date for the new spray park of May 22.
Originally, the city was looking at certificates of participation as an option to finance the water park.
Under the terms of the IDA pact, Evergreen Park would serve as the collateral for the loan. The board of aldermen would have to approve the annual payment every year for the life of the loan.
“This will be structured as an annual note renewable every year,” Childers said.
The estimated annual payment would be in the neighborhood of $32,000, including interest. Officials have said the figure is similar to what the city spent in annual maintenance and operation of the community swimming pool, which was closed and removed last fall to make room for the spray park.
The aldermen on Monday unanimously approved Childers pursuing the funding through the IDA. If the IDA board approves it as well, the contract will be drawn up and signed.
“This will come back to the board in various ordinances,” Voss said. “This is the first step of several that the board will see in the next couple of months.”
St. Clair resident Bob Fawe, a member of the IDA board, said he expects little if any trouble getting the deal approved.
In December, the city approved the $290,000 price tag and for Westport Pools of Maryland Heights to construct the splash pad on the former site of the community pool on Park Drive.
Westport’s proposal includes 21 deck-level and five above-ground structural features that would be divided into three areas — toddler, grade school and early teens. Benches, shade areas and restrooms also would be constructed.
The spray features would consist of various jets, including a noodle tower, mist tunnel and tsunami spray, and three water cannons.