City Motions In Favor Of Terminating Project Contract

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- It's been a struggle to complete the construction of the River Valley Sports Complex since it was approved in 2014. Now, the city of Fort Smith is looking to go in a different direction.

With six in favor and zero opposed, the city of Fort Smith voted Tuesday -- almost unanimous in its decision -- to terminate its contract with the River Valley Sports Complex developers. This vote doesn't necessarily spell out the end for the project.

"The main hope is still to complete the project -- to have all eight softball fields, both buildings (including) both concession stands, lighting, parking -- to have all of that completed," city administrator Carl Geffken said.

Geffken said the total value of the project was somewhere between $4 million and $6 million. The original plan was for the city to pay $1.6 million, with the rest in the hands of volunteers and donations.

One of those volunteers, State Senator, Jake Files, told 5NEWS the developers never made a penny off the project.

Geffken confirmed, "That is correct. If you're talking about a $4.8 million total cost, the remaining two-thirds cost of the project needed to come from volunteers, donated equipment, and donated materials."

Files said the developers started the project hoping to create a quality place for the youth of Fort Smith. Though the city motioned in favor of terminating the contract, the project may still happen.

"Right now, what we need to do is secure the buildings, make sure that they don't become withered, protect what's already there, and have a firm come."

The city is already in contact with a firm about assessing the property's current state. They'll explain what needs to be done in order to complete the project - including estimated costs.

"Then we'll be looking to take people up on their very generous offers to help us complete it," Geffken said.

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