WATERLOO — The city could be facing sticker shock when engineers and architects finish a review of building maintenance and repair needs.
Mayor Quentin Hart suggested the city of Waterloo’s facilities may need a substantial investment when the final report is complete.
“I inherited — and this council inherited — buildings that were in deplorable condition, from City Hall to other places,” Hart said. “We needed a plan, we needed a road map, so that we can continue making sure that we fix up buildings beyond me sitting in this chair or this council, and when staff is gone.”
Hart’s comments came as City Council members voted 5-0 Monday to spend an additional $18,000 to add the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center to the original $206,930 contract approved in September for I & S Group Inc. to assess other city buildings.
“We already had a building audit being done over city buildings to take a look at everything we own, to improve the infrastructure and necessary changes,” Hart said. “We added this one to that agreement that was out there.”
The city originally excluded the downtown convention center from the audit because it was under contract with LK Waterloo, led by Leslie Hospitality, which was going to buy and spend $6 million renovating the building.
The agreement with LK Waterloo fell apart when the company was unable to secure financing for the project, which put the future of the building back in the city government’s hands.
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Resident John Sherbon said he believed the city was wasting money on the ISG contract, suggesting the building had been looked at before the potential sale to LK Waterloo and during the time Leslie Hospitality managed the building.
“Our staff should be able to walk through and see what he’s fixed or what needs to be (fixed),” Sherbon said. “To keep hiring consultants to come in here to look at something … because we’ve evaluated it three times.
“How many times can you look at the same old, same old?” he added.
Hart and Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson both said the city does not have a thorough review of the building needs.
“We need to see exactly what needs to be done in that building,” Hart said. “We need someone with a different technical expertise to go in there.”
The Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center is four decades old.