City, building authority move ahead on sports complex

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 06:26 PM

The Gatlinburg City Commission entered into an agreement with the Gatlinburg Public Building Authority (PBA) that allows the authority to provide certain construction services for the youth sports complex project.

Mayor Mike Werner said the agreement allows the city to use the PBA as a conduit to hire a construction manager, “instead of the city just doing it, where everything would be subject to public law.”

“It’s a type of building process that helps you get the best bids for construction and really opens opportunities to hire local contractors,” he said.

Ten construction companies applied to be construction manager for the project. The bids were received around mid-December, and Werner said officials chose Blaine Construction of Knoxville.

“They had more experience with sports facilities,” he said.

Under the agreement, the PBA must follow the city’s construction specifications, and it must provide the city a budget for construction that includes the contract cost with the construction manager.

City Manager Cindy Ogle said the approach is “basically a method to do a design-and-build” that state laws allow municipalities to utilize.

“We used this approach on the Mills Conference Center project about five or six years ago very successfully,” Ogle said.

Werner said that, in a nutshell, “it lets us proceed with the construction side of the project.”

Ogle said the PBA will meet next Thursday to discuss further terms.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission also approved:

- The first reading of an ordinance to amend the Gatlinburg Zoning Ordinance, Ordinance No. 830, which would reclassify parcels 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of Tax Map 126N, Group G, located on Reagan Drive and Trentham Lane in Gatlinburg, from R-2 (medium density) residential district to R-3 (high density) residential district, and parcel 6 of Tax Map 126N, Group G, on Trentham Lane, from C-2 (general business) commercial district to R-3 residential district. The amendment passed the city planning commission on Dec. 20.

- A contract with Whaley and Sons Inc. related to the River Road Sidewalk Project.

rhargett@themountainpress.com