“We are ready to move,” Lassiter told the Fiscal Court. “As a matter of fact, they are probably going to be trying to keep up with us.”
Judge-Executive Harold McKinney would like for the agencies to be able to move in at the beginning of January. CMW understands the agencies’ need to occupy the buildings as soon as possible, Lassiter said, adding there is a chance some organizations could move in as individual buildings are complete.
Lassiter said the firm has extensive experience with historical renovation and adaptive reuse and was able to explain plans for how its will proceed instead of giving just concepts.
The project is being funded by a $500,000 federal grant for economic development the county is administering on behalf of the EDP. The renovations primarily will be coordinated by interim Heart of Danville Director Brenda Willoughby, who was the longtime director at Constitution Square, and Philip Nichols with the Chamber of Commerce.
The overall cost of the project is estimated at $462,000. Lassiter said CMW’s 7 percent fee for services, which will total about $32,000, was by far the lowest of the firms that presented proposals and was well within the 20 percent maximum the county is allowed to spend on professional services under the terms of the grant.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the visitors center, will remain in Grayson’s Tavern.
Plans are for the Heart of Danville and a gift shop to locate in the Goldsmith House, and the Boyle County Industrial Foundation and Chamber of Commerce are expected to go in buildings on Fisher’s Row. The School House would be used as a conference center. Options for the Watts-Bell House include additional office space, including an area that could be used rent-free by start-up businesses.
The county and EDP have yet to finalize a lease agreement that could include some rent, which may be discounted for work, such as maintenance, done by the EDP partners.
The county’s budget for 2013 includes a $23,100 line item in expected revenue for rent from all the occupants of the Constitution Square buildings.
Boyle Treasurer Mary Conley said the county will provide utilities for the buildings, and rent could be reduced if the groups provide some in-kind services.
The county has been doing maintenance work at the park since officially taking it over and has budgeted $50,000 for expenses that includes repairs and contract labor. The state has allocated $20,000 to the county for covering some of the initial costs.