Jeff council okays loan to wrestling academy, contracts for runway and trails

The Jefferson city council at its May 12 meeting paved the way for an elite wrestling program to relocate in Jefferson with the approval of a $150,000, 10-year forgivable loan to T.J. Sebolt.

Sebolt and his father Scott Sebolt are negotiating the purchase of The Fieldhouse from Greene County Youth Athletic Association. The building was originally the Safeway grocery store, but was renovated as a youth training facility about six years ago. GCYAA purchased it when owners Jeff and Amy Schroeder moved from Jefferson. The non-profit youth organization has used it for its own programs and rented it to Greene County Schools as a wrestling practice facility.

The school wrestling program will have a new home at the current high school as part of the repurposing of the building. The timing of the Sebolts’ purchase was good for GCYAA.

The Sebolts plan to spend a total of about $175,000 to purchase the building and do some interior renovations. The city funding will be for façade improvements, including new cement. A five-year tax abatement is also part of the package.

Greene County Development Corporation and the city council see the arrival of Sebolt Wrestling Academy as a community development boon. GCDC director Ken Paxton said it would be “a significant asset for our local businesses,” as it will draw wrestlers and their parents to Jefferson for weekly sessions.

The building is in the city’s urban renewal district. The façade work will be paid for with tax increment financing revenue.

The council also took action to move forward another economic development project, the extension of the runway at the municipal airport. The council held a public hearing on plans, specifications, form of contract and cost estimate for the project, with no comments from the public. (Attendance was via Zoom for all council members and the public.)

The council approved a resolution on those matters and then awarded the contract for the work to Concrete Technologies Inc of Grimes. The company’s total bid was $1,476,733. Four bids were received, with a range of Concrete Technologies’ low bid to $1,724,705. The engineer’s estimate was $1,751,590.

The project is being covered 100 percent by Federal Aviation Administration funds.

The total bid includes a base bid and two bid alternates. Carl Byers, aviation project manager for Bolton & Menk, the city’s engineering firm, recommended that if funding becomes unavailable for the entire project, Concrete Technologies be hired to complete the work in the base bid and whatever can be funded with FAA grant amounts.

(The funding was assured before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown if the pandemic will have an impact on the project.)

The council awarded the contract for the share use path improvements project to Calber Concrete of Adair at a total base bid of $877,039, with another $69,454 for work on the north side of E. Lincoln Way as a companion to a trail on the south side of the road from the Milwaukee Road depot to the municipal cemetery.

That bid also was below the engineer’s estimate by $94,000.

Only one other bid was received, and that bid was higher than the engineer’s estimate.

The council approved funding for the combined Jefferson Matters: Main Street/Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce in the amount of $70,000. The combined entity is advertising for a director with the retirement of Main Street director Peg Raney. The city will use $50,000 from the hotel/motel tax fund and $20,000 from the city’s general fund.

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