The renovation of Marietta's National Guard Armory is apparently back on track, but with a pared-back schedule for completion, according to a presentation by the city administration during Tuesday's meeting of city council's lands, buildings and parks committee.
"We believe we have come up with a plan to make the armory renovation feasible by breaking it down into phases that will allow us to keep the project moving," said Mayor Joe Matthews. "But we will be asking CAPS (Citizens Armory Preservation Society) and FOTA (Friends of the Armory) to contribute to this project."
The mayor said the first phase of the project could be accomplished with current available funding and would include complete roof replacement and insulation, lead abatement and cleanup, and replacement of doors and windows.
"We can continue with more phases as we receive donations and future grant funding," Matthews added.
City engineer Joe Tucker said the initial phase would be contracted in two bid packages. The first would include demolition, lead paint abatement, roof replacement and roof insulation, structural repairs to the building's first and second floor south end framing, and all work to install an elevator and elevator lobby.
Tucker said construction of the armory's front steps could also be included as an alternate in that bid package.
The second bid package, to be completed by July 20, would include replacement of all exterior doors, frames and windows, including replacement of eight lintels.
Tucker requested $3,800 from the Gutberlet Armory Fund to get the work started by having Davis Architectural Group change the project scope to coincide with the current grants and funds available for the project.
The lands, buildings and parks committee members agreed to approve the $3,800 through legislation that will be introduced during Thursday's city council meeting.
City development director Andy Coleman said funding from three currently available grants could be used to pay for the project's initial phase.
He said the $461,000 Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant, the deadline for which has been extended several times by the state, would be restructured to $183,726 with a local match of $36,745.
Coleman said after talking with state officials he felt reasonably sure the energy grant deadline would be extended once more to August 31 of this year.
A Transportation Equity Grant in the amount of $321,860 could be used 100 percent for construction and administration costs on the project if the city maintains possession of the armory building. If ownership is transfered to another entity, the total grant would have to be spent outside the building's current footprint.
Coleman said outside work could include the elevator, elevator shaft, and fire escape. The local match for that grant would be $80,465.
A federal Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiative grant for $149,115 is also available, and up to 20 percent of those funds can be used to pay architect fees, Coleman said.
The remaining monies from the HUD grant must be spent on the elevator and elevator lobby.
Lands, buildings and parks committee chairman Harley Noland, D-at large, said the plan submitted by the city administration is feasible.
"This shows the city is moving forward to preserve the armory's structure by making the roof and floors safe, getting the windows and doors done, and having the lead paint abated, and we can get this all started for $3,800 from the Gutberlet fund," he said.
Tucker noted that the $3,800 would also be reimbursible through the HUD grant.
More than $80,000 in funding raised by CAPS and FOTA would be needed to help front the monies needed for the project since all of the grant monies would be used to reimburse the city for the construction expenses.
Members of both groups were present during Tuesday's committee meeting and agreed to allow a special line item to be developed for those funds in the city budget.
Finance committee chairman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, also asked city law director Paul Bertram III to develop a resolution stating that if those monies were not used for the armory they would be returned to the CAPS and FOTA groups.
One question not answered during Tuesday's meeting was whether the city would stand to lose the potential for approximately $1 million in state and federal historic tax credits by following the administration's proposed plan.