LUMBERTON — A new soup kitchen and emergency shelter set to be built downtown may need a redesign after estimated construction costs came in higher than expected.
Construction of the Lumberton Christian Care Center’s new building on Second Street was expected to begin this month and be paid for with $1.1 million in grants.
But the lowest estimate came from Central Builders at $1.2 million, Brandon Love, director of the city’s Planning Board, told City Council during its Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday. The council accepted the bid, authorizing the Planning Board and the center to discuss design changes with the Wooten Company. The final design and cost will come back to council for approval.
Love said cutting the 24-bed shelter’s square footage could lower costs.
“We’re going to try to find any other cost-cutting measures before we start cutting space,” Love said, noting cuts would be made to the dining area first.
Plans need to be finalized soon, Love said. A $500,000 Community Development Block Grant must be spent by April 2015, three months before the building is expected to be complete.
Also during the meeting, the council heard from Wyatt Johnson, a former council member, who asked that the city contribute money for the purchase of furniture for the center.
The Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center may also see some changes following the council’s decision to help pay for a new 200-stall horse stable.
More than $413,000 has been raised privately and publicly but about $100,000 is still needed. The council on Wednesday agreed to do the site work for the project by providing labor, materials and equipment up to $30,000, City Manager Wayne Horne said.
The stable will allow for larger horse shows. A three-day show could bring in about $361,471 to the local economy, according to the North Carolina Horse Council.
“If you spend $30,000, I think you’ll see that money come back,” Horne said.
The council also agreed to help Southeastern Regional Medical Center apply for a $500,000 Building Reuse Grant to renovate the hospital’s fourth floor. The grant would be awarded to the city and loaned to the hospital, which would provide a 5 percent match.
The renovations are needed to house 50 residents and eight administrative staff from Campbell University’s residency program beginning in July 2015.
In other business, the council:
— Approved the purchase of a CelleBrite 4PC system that will enable Lumberton police to decode passwords, emails, call history, texts, contacts, media files and location information from confiscated cell phones for investigative purposes. The system will be paid for with $9,000 in drug forfeiture money.
— Awarded a bid to renovate a hangar at the Lumberton Municipal Airport to B.W. Davis Construction Inc. The work will cost about $34,937, minus what the city can save by installing the plumbing.
— Voted to allow the Public Works Department to apply for a $50,000 Technical Assistance Grant to finish mapping the city’s sewer system and determine if wastewater from the Robeson Community College area can be rerouted.
— Approved a request for a conditional-use permit for 210 E. 15th St. to be used as an intermediate care facility.
— Approved a request that property located at 700 Roberts Ave. be rezoned to allow for residential and office use. Currently, the property also allows for restaurants and night clubs.
— Heard a request from Ron Ross of the Boys and Girls Club of Lumberton/Robeson County for the council to include $25,000 in funding for the club in its next budget.
— Heard a request from Francis Cummings that the council budget for repairs at a home purchased by Sisters with Pearls Severing Society Foundation on Martin Luther King Drive.
— Approved a resolution supporting negotiations for the sale of assets owned by the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency. The agency asked 32 municipalities that receive power from its power plants to show support for a potential sale of its assets to Duke Energy.
— Voted to replace outdated signs at the entrances to Lumberton with new ones reading “Welcome to Lumberton Home of Miss North Carolina 2013 Johna Edmonds.”
— Approved amending an engineering services contract to allow $73,500 from a North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources loan to be put towards repairs to the Britt’s Farm sanitary sewer.
— Approved the purchase of a low-profile dump truck at a cost of $68,969.40.
— Approved the designation of $1,000 for 911 Day in Precinct 7, as requested by Leon Maynor, the councilman for that precinct.
— Voted to lower the speed limit on East Oak Street from Roberts Avenue to the city limits from 35 to 25 mph and on Redwood Way from 25 to 15 mph.
— Approved the purchase of two new street sweepers at a total cost of $414,040.
— Tabled a request for $3,000 for the Mike Brill Football Clinic.
— Voted to demolish an unsafe structure at 508 Lumbee St.
— Approved March 2014 tax releases.