DULUTH - The Duluth mayor and City Council discussed architectural services for the Red Clay Theater during Monday’s work session.
The project budget called for $2 million, with all but $450,000 going toward construction. Of the $450,000 not for construction, $250,000 was for a stand-alone marquee sign, $130,000 for an architect and $20,000 for additional services, among other things.
Those numbers didn’t sit well with councilman Billy Jones.
“Is $250,000 for a marquee sign really realistic?” he said. “And the additional services … $20,000 sounds like a blank check to me.”
Councilwoman Marsha Anderson Bomar agreed with Jones that the details of the plan were vague.
“I don’t see why we’d enter a project this vague and this general,” she said. “All of our design projects are very specific with a lot of details. Usually we know what’s included and what’s not. Here we don’t know.”
City Engineer Melissa Muscato said the city staff put in some of the unknowns that will come up because they know the site.
However, all agreed no decision could be made until the council met with the architect, which is scheduled next Monday.
The council also discussed the city’s wayfinding signage plan, as bids are due from contractors by Aug. 2.
While the full funds aren’t available to complete the project, City Planning Director James Riker said they can do the signage in phases.
“We’ll construct and install the signs in phases,” he said. “We currently don’t have the funds to complete the entire project, but will eventually.”
Prior to the work session, the council held a short specially called meeting to authorize the mayor to enter into a intergovernmental agreement with Gwinnett County to receive its share of SPLOST, which is on the November ballot.
Among the projects the council is looking at is a Davenport Road extension and sidewalk connectivity, upgrades to public safety vehicles and equipment, and downtown infrastructure upgrades.