Greensboro city councilmembers got some strange answers to questions about the financing for the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Complex at the Thursday, July 27 work session.

The total cost of the project has been reported to be $75 million. There is an original $2 million from 2016 bonds for design, plus $8 million in general fund money freed up by American Rescue Plan funds, $50 million in 2022 Parks and Recreation bond money and $15 million from Guilford County.

But the city has also applied for $9.5 million in grant money.

City Councilmember Tammi Thurm asked, if the city did receive the grants, would the $9.5 million grant money free up some of the funding from other sources.  She said, “Can it go for other projects?”

Parks and Recreation Division Manager for Planning and Project Development Shawna Tillery, who gave the presentation, said no.  She said, “We are locked into spending the $15 million and the bond money on this project.”

The restriction on spending bond money is that the bond funds have to be spent in accordance with the language on the ballot when the bonds were approved by the voters.  The bond funds do not have to be spent in accordance with the advertising in support of the bonds or how the City Council has publicly stated the money will be spent.

The language on the ballot for the 2022 Parks and recreation bond is: “Shall the order adopted on August 31, 2021, authorizing $70,000,000 PARKS AND RECREATION BONDS of the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, plus interest, for the purpose of providing funds, together with any other available funds, for acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping various parks and recreational facilities for said City, including, without limitation, a joint library and parks and recreational facility, and the acquisition of related land, rights of way and equipment, and providing that additional taxes may be levied in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on said bonds, be approved?”

It does not state that $50 million of the $70 million Parks and Recreation bond must be spent on the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Complex.  In fact, there is no mention in there of $50 million being designated for any particular project.

It appears that if the City Council chooses to replace bond funding with grant funding that it would free up 2022 Parks and Recreation bond money for other projects in keeping with the language on the ballot.

However, the City Council was told that if the city does receive the $9.5 million in grant funding, then the only option the City Council had was to turn the $75 million Windsor Chavis Nocho project into an $84.5 million project.