A local builder accuses the city of defamation after the Redevelopment Agency rejected its request for a historic preservation grant and one of the members said some of its costs were “exaggerated.”
At the RDA meeting on Tuesday, April 27, Grant and Larry Turner’s request for a refund of $ 36,868 for the first phase of turning the old Back in Thyme antique store at 524 Nevada Way into a tavern smoke-free and a concert hall was rejected.
In a 3-2 vote, members of the GDR rejected the request despite the support of the city’s historic preservation committee. President Kiernan McManus and GDR members Judy Hoskins and Tracy Folda voted against. Claudia Bridges and James Howard Adams, members of the GDR, voted in favor.
During the meeting, Folda asked Grant Turner how he determined some of the costs for the project.
“It’s public money, and I get the impression that some of the costs you are asking are exaggerated,” she said.
Specifically, she asked him how much he had paid for the historic Stagecoach bar that was going to be installed in the tavern. In the app, it was listed as an $ 18,500 line item.
“Are you publicly accusing us of increasing the numbers?” Grant Turner asked Folda.
“If you don’t feel free to respond, that’s fine because it’s… listed as an ineligible project. … These are public funds, and I ask for it, ”she replied.
The Turners were not asking for reimbursement of the bar fees. Grant Turner said he could indicate the cost of buying, restoring and relocating the bar, but wanted to know if she was accusing them of inflating the number of their offers.
“You are asking this amount of money for public funds from the public and you don’t think it’s justifiable,” she said.
Turner responded by apologizing from the podium.
No additional comments
“I could ask questions on any item on this,” she said later in the meeting. “Apparently it was a sore spot or something. I don’t know why… I got the reaction I had.
McManus also did not allow Grant Turner to provide further comments during the discussion.
“Now is not the time,” he told Grant Turner when he said he would be happy to answer any legitimate questions. “There is a motion and a second on the floor. It is a moment of discussion between the members of the council. “
He asked again later to talk about the project and McManus said he couldn’t.
“Because of this and other things, we are pursuing a defamation lawsuit as well as an ongoing discrimination lawsuit. … To be publicly accused of supplementing the numbers is irresponsible, ”Grant Turner said after the meeting. “I’m just disgusted by it. … This kind of behavior cannot continue.
Compliance with the act of disability
McManus, Hoskins and Folda have expressed concern over preserving the building’s historic architecture, as the front door needs to be relocated to bring it into compliance with U.S. disability law and the current building code.
Alan Stromberg, architect for the project, said that even if they didn’t move the door and kept it in the center of the building, it will still need to be set back about 7 feet to create enough space for a ramp.
“It won’t be the same no matter what they do. … Moving that door to the right, the upper end of the sidewalk, is absolutely essential for the interior of the building to function, ”he said.
Grant Turner had removed the front door travel fee for reimbursement before the meeting.
Adams and Bridges agreed that some changes to the historic elements were necessary to bring the building into conformity.
“Again, I come back to this statement that some ADA requirements will require changes, even in a historic building, in order to meet current requirements. … I think they went above and beyond to receive approval from the Historic Preservation Committee and… work with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), ”said Bridges.
“At the end of the day what is important is that we are working to preserve and to make sure that what we get in the end is to the best of our ability to meet the standards of the Home Secretary,” he said. he declared. “There are going to be conflicts with ADA compliance and with historic preservation. It is well noted in the standards of the Secretariat of the Interior where it can sometimes be the case. … ADA often trumps these historic preservation efforts.
Traditional RDA grant
Hoskins and Folda said they believe the project is more like a traditional RDA grant.
“I am really concerned about all of this. … I think it’s more about RDA than historical RDA, ”Hoskins said. “I’m afraid the questions Ms. Folda asked have not been answered, and I’m just a little concerned about the whole situation.”
A traditional RDA grant reimburses up to 30 percent of eligible expenses for renovating historic downtown buildings. The RDA Grant for Historic Preservation provides a possible reimbursement of 50% for eligible repairs that preserve the architecture of the building. Applicants can only receive one grant.
Grant Turner said city staff recommended that he apply for the RDA grant for historic preservation.
“I think it sets a bad precedent,” Folda said. “I think anyone on Main Street after that would be like, ‘I’m doing a remodel too, and as long as I add ramps you’re going to cover 50% of my project.'”
Bridges and Adams said they were worried otherwise.
Bridges said that by denying the motion, the board was saying they were going to be “really, really picky” about who it funds and if they don’t want to “track exactly what it is, what what it sounds like, then we’re going to get people to build “whatever they want.”
“I think we’ve come to a point where we have a very accommodating candidate to make sure he can do whatever he can to preserve and maintain this building as much as possible, knowing that it won’t be possible. because of ADA requirements, ”Adams added.
After the meeting, Grant Turner said the denial showed everyone that historic preservation was not important to McManus and had damaged the reputation of the town’s historic preservation committee, which reviewed and approved the project at two times.
“He just lost years of work,” he said of McManus.
Grant Turner said he plans to reapply for the grant, including an additional $ 63,032 for the second phase, in July, when there is a “city representative” council. It will also be a new fiscal year.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at [email protected] or 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.