FORT WAYNE — Weigand Construction will likely be the contractor responsible for transforming the McMillen Ice Arena into a community center.
Mayor Tom Henry’s office announced the $1.7 million contract Thursday; it will be introduced to the City Council on Tuesday and could get final approval Sept. 24.
“The McMillen Community Center is going to be a tremendous investment,” Henry said in a statement. “City Councilman Glynn Hines and citizens in southeast Fort Wayne have been champions on this effort. We look forward to the entire community being able to use and enjoy this unique and needed destination place.”
The ice arena closed in 2009; officials hope that by this time next year the complex will be a community center hosting basketball, an indoor track and activities for young and old.
Parks department officials say they plan educational, social, and health and fitness programs, including exercise and continued learning for older people and after-school programs and athletics for younger.
In April, the city hired MSKTD & Associates Inc. of Fort Wayne for $118,000 to design and oversee the project. Parks officials estimate the entire project will cost about $4.5 million; this first phase of renovating the complex was estimated to cost about $1.9 million.
The money for the project is from the Legacy Fund, which is money from the lease and sale of the city’s old electric utility, City Power & Light. There is about $47 million on hand; an additional $28 million will come in over the next 12 years. The fund is meant to pay for “transformative” projects that improve the quality of life in Fort Wayne.
Officials said that, if the contract is approved, renovation work would begin in October and be finished next year.
To ensure the future McMillen facility would meet the community’s needs, the parks department had public meetings in spring 2011 to gather ideas, and a conceptual drawing derived from the public’s feedback was presented to the community later. MSKTD’s designs were based on that feedback.