Niles Wellness Center revenue estimate raised to $676K

NILES — City council unanimously agreed today to borrow $3.8 million for the construction of the Niles Wellness Center, an athletic complex for those of all ages.

The 70,000-square-foot building will be built in Waddell Park.

Mayor Ralph A. Infante said the facility is a “quality-of-life issue,” and there will be no other like it in the Mahoning Valley.

“I feel comfortable with it,” Councilman Steve Papalas, D-at large, chairman of council’s finance committee, said before the vote.

Last week, Papalas expressed reservations about the funding because of the lack of communications between the administration and council.

Jakubick/Sexton Architects of Cortland will design the building.

Infante said it will take about three months to award building contracts, and predicted a facility opning in April 2008.

The center is being built to sustain itself with fees being charged for its many uses. It will provide programs for everyone.

Scott MacMillan, a Niles resident who has been working on programming, originally estimated the annual receipts at $500,000.

The annual income, he told lawmakers, is now estimated at $676,000.

He made the revision after looking at facilities that are rented for various athletic programs and looking at the community’s demographics.

The faclity's all-purpose field is expected to generate the most income of more than $257,000 a year.

Other annual receipts include the batting cages, $67,000; basketball court, $53,000; tennis court, $20,000; fitness and aerobics room, $52,000; coffee shop, $60,000; and banquets, parties and dances, $20,000.

The facility will be operated by a director with four to six part-time employees and a payroll of about $150,000 per year.

MacMillan said he hasn’t determined the cost of utilities for the center nor did he have a list of expenses with him.

Councilman Thomas Scarnecchia, D-at large, said he wanted council to meet with MacMillan when the fiscal plan is in place.

In other business, Anthony Vigorito, city building inspector, said the inspection of buildings at the Royal Mall Apartments is progressing.

Ten of the complex’s 26 buildings have been inspected, he said. Most of the violations are for the lack of batteries in smoke alarms.

He said maintenance is “up to par” and work needs to be done on the exterior of the buildings.

The city decided to inspect the apartments because of numerous complaints of drug trafficking in it and residents’ trespassing on private property around the complex.

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