Three major city projects— a Sun Prairie Public Library expansion, public works campus, and aquatic center renovations—have made it into a $33 million capital improvement plan but all of the projects will be scaled down and pushed back to stay within a 2.5 percent tax increase.
A city task force of Public Works and Finance committee members gave its OK to the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) on Tuesday Feb. 11, ending months long discussions that pitted the multi-million dollar library and public works projects against one another for funding.
The plan will go to the city council for a vote in March.
The 20-year-old library needs to expand to keep within library standards for a growing city population, the public works facility doesn’t have enough room for equipment and staff, and the Family Aquatic Center bathhouse needs to be replaced at the 20-year old facility, city officials reported.
But city finance officials told alders that moving ahead with full-scale projects would increase taxes at a greater rate than approved in previous budgets, limit the operating levy, and restrict any additional CIP projects during the next five years.
The plan approved by the joint task force has a financial forecast that allows for the city’s cost-to-continue budget, and room for new budget initiatives during the next 10 years. It also reduced projects, as the task force requested last month, to hold the tax increase at 2.5 percent, instead of 3 percent.
Here’s the plan OK’d Tuesday by the task force:
The $19.5 million library expansion was sized down to a $13.6 million project (including $3.6 million in donations) that focuses on adding collection space to keep it compliant with Dane County Library standards. The timeline, approved by the joint task force, shows construction being completed in 2026.
The current 36,000 sq. ft. library would need to expand to 55,000 sq. ft. to meet the requirements during the next 10 years. The library board is looking at options for a scaled-down expansion with no details discussed at the Feb. 11 joint task force meeting.
Public Works Campus
The $14.2 million project, downsized from $17.5 million, proposes to renovate bathrooms at the City Service Center at 201 S. Bristol St. and build a cold storage unit on the city’s Bailey Road property during the next two years. Constructing a new public works building in 2030, slated for the Bailey Road site, is also part of the plan.
Family Aquatic Center
There’s $5.25 million in the plan for replacing the bathhouse, concession stand and water slides with upgraded construction starting in 2024, under the proposed timeline. A $1 million fundraising campaign is included in the plan to offset capital borrowing.
Family Aquatic Center renovations proposals ranged from $5.5 million to $21.2 million.
The top-end price included a Community Recreation Center with an indoor 50-meter pool. That plan included demolition of the existing Family Aquatic Center and replaced it with a water feature at the center.
A handful of Sun Prairie swim enthusiasts showed up at the Feb. 11 joint task force meeting to try to sway support for building the 50-meter indoor pool.
Sun Prairie Storm Swim Team coach Michael White said the program, serving kids from ages 5 to college-age, was at capacity with indoor pool time limited in the city. White advocated for an 50-meter indoor pool, saying it could bring in millions of dollars of revenue into the city from visiting teams and regional swimming events.