Newton Kansan

Plans for renovation of the Newton Activity Center, 415 N. Poplar, are coming together.

New floors, renovated bathrooms, completely renovated locker rooms, a new look to the outside of the building, ADA renovations and repairs to the building and building systems are all part of a proposal that will be taken to the city in the weeks to come.

"It is exciting to see this and start thinking about what could be," said Nancy Schlup, member of the recreation commission board.

Tuesday members of the NRC met with city management — manager Randy Riggs, assistant manager Lunda Asmani and director of public works Suzanne Loomis — to discuss funding for the project and project timelines.

Should the Newton City Commission agree to loan the Newton Recreation Center money for the project, the renovations would happen in 2014.

The project is expected to cost up to $1.8 million — and if the city agrees to a loan of $900,000 would be done without a tax increase.

The city commission approved a $450,000 loan to the recreation commission in December of 2012. The NRC spent time fleshing out a plan for the building with engineers, and has chosen to ask for a larger loan.

Riggs told those in attendance Tuesday he expects the commission to take up the loan issue in December.

During the meeting, rec commission member Willis Heck asked if the NRC could pay back that loan in three years — it was unclear Tuesday just how long it would take or how much interest the city may ask for on the loan.

"To tie up most our all of our money for five years would make it difficult to (do other projects)," Heck said.

Asmani told those in attendance the loan would likely be around 5 years with an interest of 1.5 percent — but those things were not set in stone.

"Whatever interest we receive would go into our general fund," Riggs said.