Chehaw-Fowler future still not finalized - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chehaw-Fowler future still not finalized

Albany- Animal expert Jim Fowler is closer to formally joining the Parks at Chehaw. "We're very close, very close to having a final agreement," says Parks at Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter.

It's been almost a year and still nothing final on the Chehaw-Fowler agreement. "We're going to have a little bit more back and forth so we can really understand what everybody's concerns are, make sure we can get them addressed," says Porter.

They've been meeting with Fowler and his consulting firm for the last several days to look at some of the wording in the contract, something both sides must approve before any signatures are put to paper. The city has agreed to fund the project in increments. "That's kind of what we're talking to Jim and his team about now. How we make that fit and be able to move forward," says Porter.

Jim Fowler and his consulting firm PAWS want something in writing that assures them that the city is providing the initial $25,000 consulting fee and that the rest of the money will be available, a total of $100,000 to help beef up the park. "The $100,000 is meant to help us plan our strategy and plan the different exhibits and as we go further and further along, some of the planning will be more detailed," says Porter.

Planning that the city will have to see before any additional funds are provided. "Once we've worked on the $25,000 and we've spent that," says Porter, "we go back to them and say here's what we have. Here's what we've done, will you fund another 25?" And by then the authority will have some idea as to what improvements should be made at the park and how those changes should be implemented.

Porter says, "It's nice to be able to sit down and brainstorm some of these ideas. I'm looking forward to doing more of that in the future." A future that won't be final until everyone is on the same page but officials are confident all issues will be resolved. "I think its looking very positive right now," says Porter.

Fowler and his team will use the $100,000 to come up with concepts and improvement ideas for the park, plans they'll use to raise money to finance any improvements to the park.

The Park Authority will have a special meeting in about ten days to discuss and vote on the contract.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com