Plymouth Council Approves Community Center Expansion, Tax Deferment
The city of Plymouth is now one step closer to renovating and expanding the Plymouth Creek Center.
The Plymouth City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a site plan amendment and conditional use permit to allow an 82,210-square-foot expansion of the Plymouth Creek Community Center.
That expansion would bring the overall size of the Plymouth Creek Center to 113,000 square feet. Some of the additional amenities would include upgraded and expanded facilities, additional gymnasiums, fitness classrooms, a walking track and an indoor play area for children.
In addition, the city plans to add more parking spaces to the site. Currently, the Plymouth Creek Center has 304 spaces for people to park their cars, but after the renovation is complete, the site will have 451 parking stalls. The city also plans to modify traffic flow in the parking lot and add another drop-off and pick-up area.
The city is currently developing final plans and specifications for the project and preparing bidding documents. City officials expect the project to go out to bid in late June or July.
Plymouth is also waiting to see if the state legislature will improve a $15 million bonding request to help pay for the project. State lawmakers have not yet voted on the bonding bill.
Construction could begin in August or September and be complete by 2022. The total cost of the project is more than $51.9 million.
Some Residential, Commercial Property Owners to Get Short-Term Tax Relief
Later in the meeting, the council approved “special assessment relief” to certain residential and commercial property owners due to COVID-19.
Plymouth has two major pavement improvement projects planned for later this year on Schmidt Lake Road and Zachary Lane. Residential and commercial property owners affected by that project would normally be assessed a tax to pay for that work with the first payment due in 2021. However, because many businesses have had to close or reduce operations due to the coronavirus — and because many people are also out of work — the council voted to provide some relief.
Instead of paying that special assessment in 2021, the property owners can defer that payment until 2022.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Plymouth Mayor Jeff Wosje. “Anything we can do to help residents out, especially if they’re facing financial hardships during this time, it’s our obligation to help them.”
Tuesday’s council decision has no effect on any assessments the council levied earlier in 2020. Technically, the council could go back and provide special assessment relief to other property owners, but city officials say “it would trigger hearings or revocations of past actions.”
Plymouth’s Financial Outlook
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Plymouth has lost revenue from things such as license fees, building permits, fines and forfeitures, and rental fees at the Plymouth Creek Center.
On top of that, Hennepin County has delayed payment of property tax bills to July 15, which means there could be a two-month delay in Plymouth receiving property tax revenue. It’s uncertain how many Plymouth residents will take advantage of that delayed payment.
However, in a presentation to the council, Plymouth City Manager Dave Callister says despite the loss of revenue, “we have a strong cashflow position due to staff and council using prudence in their budgeting processes and putting money aside to pay for capital improvements.”
Callister went on to say, “We will continue to monitor as we have, but the city is in very, very good shape to manage this. We don’t know when it’s going to end, so there are unknowns. And I know council is well aware of those, but I think we’re in a strong financial position and I wanted to make sure that the council and the public knew that we’re on top of it. We’re doing our planning, we’re doing our contingency planning, and we’re working towards addressing all of the items caused by the COVID situation.”