The purchase of equipment for Wetumpka’s new city-owned athletic facility was a main topic of discussion at the Wetumpka City Council meeting Monday.

Parks and recreation director Ron Dickerson presented the council with its first look at a list of items he’s asking to be purchased for the new athletic field, which broke ground in February.

Items on the list include two food warmers and two popcorn machines for the concession stands, 234 commercial grade folding chairs to be placed in locker rooms, press boxes, the referee’s room and the VIP hospitality room, six dry erase boards, four round tables, a utility vehicle, state and United States flags and various pieces of lawn equipment. 

The total amounts to roughly $30,000. After a review of the list, District 2 councilmember Lewis Washington questioned why there wasn’t an emphasis placed on purchasing items from Wetumpka-based businesses. Dickerson said he searched locally and in surrounding cities to find the best prices. 

Dickerson assured Washington he checked prices at locally owned businesses as well as out-of-town businesses, and the prices locally were higher.  

Washington said he would have liked to see some side-by-side price comparisons for local businesses and out-of-town businesses and expressed a desire for the commercial grade lawn equipment to be purchased locally. 

“These are local people that pay taxes and they have employees to pay,” Washington said. “I feel like we should have tried to negotiate better because these are our local people. We’re giving almost $30,000 to the city of Montgomery. We have to take care of home. We negotiate with what and who we want to and this should’ve been relooked at. This is a heap of money and it’s being taken out of the city of Wetumpka.”

The city does not have to go through the bid process because the items don’t meet the price threshold. Washington requested that list be reconsidered. 

Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis pointed out it was Dickerson’s first presentation on the matter, so there’s time to make revisions before the purchase request goes before the council for a vote.

An athletic facility that will seat between 5,000 and 5,500 people is currently under construction. The city council unanimously accepted a $4,985,900 bid from Selma-based Frasier-Ousley Construction and Engineering on Jan. 29 to build the complex.

The complex will have a synthetic turf field, an eight-lane track, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, locker rooms, two concession stands, two press boxes and a VIP hospitality room.

The goal is to have the stadium built before Wetumpka High School’s first home football game this fall.

In other business, the council approved a contract with the lowest bidder, Jamie’s Lawn Care, for grass cutting services throughout the city.