Mayors Message March
We have had an epic winter rivaling winters from days of old. As a Valley elementary student in the 1970’s, I recall snowbanks so tall you could almost touch the telephone wires on the north side of the park. After years of drought, we seem to be in a good position with snowpack levels still at 148% of normal. Weber County, and other areas of the state, have been preparing for the possibility of spring flooding. Fortunately, our peninsula is high enough to protect most of our properties from floods.
It’s hard to believe, but next month at this time we will be hiding Easter eggs, and we will surely be using our snowbanks for camouflage.
In Memory of Jim McKay
Early Saturday morning, February 18, 2023, we received the sad and devastating news that former Mayor Jim McKay, had passed. Jim McKay was a Huntsville native who served valiantly and diligently as our Mayor for 16 years. During his tenure there were many accomplishments and improvements to our great town. However, the one he will always be remembered for is our water system and plant, which was state of the
art when it was constructed about 25 years ago. Many will remember our old system that would spew out nasty, reddish brown water each spring during runoff season. Residents typically had to fill up five-gallon jugs from friends who had a well outside of town. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Carson, and his family.
Town Hall and Community Center Update Awarded $640,000 from RAMP
We received some exciting news recently as the town was notified that we have been preliminarily awarded $640,000 for the construction of our Community Center from the Weber County Recreation Arts Museums Parks (RAMP) grant. Combined with a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that we were awarded in 2021, we now have $1,066,000 in grant funds to be used for our community center. The grants may be used for the community center aspect of the project, but not for office or meeting space. The RAMP committee was very impressed with, and supportive of, our project, and gave us full funding for our project. Special thanks to Wendy McKay, Beckki Endicott, Steve Songer, and others who worked so hard to successfully acquire these funds.
I wanted to bring everyone up to speed on the arduous process, which has been evolving for several years, to prepare for construction. The preparation has taken much longer than the actual construction, but we hope to share preliminary plans to the community in coming months. Nearly a year ago, we formed a Town Hall/Community Center Committee to help guide the process. We then sent out a “Request for Qualifications” (RFQ) for a design/build team to design and ultimately construct our building. RFQ’s for a Design/Build construction are fairly common for governmental projects. While larger cities conduct RFQ’s quite frequently, little Huntsville may have one major construction project every decade or two. Several very qualified architectural firm/contractor teams submitted their proposal. Each of the committee members reviewed and graded the applications, and a design/build team was ultimately selected. Over the next couple of months, the architect created some plans for a beautiful building. The only problem was that the rough estimate for construction exceeded our already extended budget by more than $1 million. We were then forced to make cuts and changes to the design to try to get back into the range of our budget, which was not an easy task, as we had to eliminate features and elements that the committee felt were necessary. We loved the design and the design team, but we soon realized that we could not afford it. At some point, we began looking at alternatives and ultimately chose to go a different design direction. We essentially started over in December and used some of our local experts to come up with a new design rough draft. Wendy McKay and Steve Songer drafted some rough sketches that included the spaces, features, and elements that we felt were important. Many community members provided input as well. The committee met a few times and ultimately agreed upon a preliminary design that we were all happy with. We then passed it onto the Town Council for their review and approval. Next, we sought out a group of designers and engineers that would take our rough plans and make them into reality. The first drafts from the designer should be available in the next week or so, and the committee will once again meet to submit input and recommend changes to the plans. We look forward to sharing the plans with the community in the new future.
That’s all for now, thanks for being great residents and neighbors, and for making Huntsville a wonderful place to grow up and grow old.
Mayor Richard Sorensen