City staff to put together cost plan for revitalization

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 11/15/17

Cleveland's City Council received two presentations Monday afternoon from top-scale consulting firms, each seeking to contract with the city on revitalization of the downtown area.The two firms were …

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City staff to put together cost plan for revitalization

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Cleveland's City Council received two presentations Monday afternoon from top-scale consulting firms, each seeking to contract with the city on revitalization of the downtown area.

The two firms were selected in an elimination process by a city selection committee two weeks ago, and the committee's decision was praised by council members.

Monday's presentations were somewhat of a David-and-Goliath confrontation, one from a large, global company, and the second from a smaller regional firm headquartered in Pikeville.

WSP, with one of its 500 offices located in Nashville, has 36,000 employees in 40 countries around the world.

The second firm, Farmer-Morgan, has eight people at its Pikeville office.

It seemed both presentations were well received by council members, with a number of questions asked of the presenters.

But, at the end of almost two hours for production, the council took no action in selecting one over the other.

Council members approved a motion to have city staff direct the two consulting firms to compile a scope of work for the revitalization plan, and an estimation of cost for the consultation.

This information is expected to be back to the council for consideration by Feb. 1, 2018.

Reflecting on the presentations Monday, which were much the same as the elimination process earlier, the council seemed comfortable with both.

There was a small-town approach from Farmer-Morgan partners Ben Farmer and Randy Morgan, as they discussed a few of their company's previous consultations in Pikeville, Union City, and Starkville, Miss. 

Council members seemed impressed by WSP's vast resources, and the presentation from Doug Delaney of the firm's Nashville office.

Delaney was assisted by representatives of partner firms in Chattanooga — Russell Moorehead, John Brown and Matt Winget.

These professionals said they were well acquainted with the Cleveland community, and most have worked on previous projects here.

Still, despite the presentations, council members did not appear close to being ready to select a firm to represent the city with its revitalization plan.

Some council members were disappointed when they asked about a possible timeline for such a revitalization effort, and were told it will probably be several years.

City Manager Joe Fivas, Assistant City Managers Shawn McKay and Melinda Carroll, and other staff members will now put together the request for a scope of work and cost estimates for the council.

With the revitalization presentations taking up all, and more, of Monday's work session, there was little time for other presentations or discussions.

A short break was taken before the council's voting session.


Inset Text:

City Manager Joe Fivas, Assistant City Managers Shawn McKay and Melinda Carroll, and other staff members will now put together the request for a scope of work and cost estimates for the council.


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