Grandview Heights City Council is expected to hear a first reading March 5 of legislation to authorize the finance director to determine the best option to finance proposed improvements to Pierce Field and Wyman Woods.

Grandview Heights City Council is expected to hear a first reading March 5 of legislation to authorize the finance director to determine the best option to finance proposed improvements to Pierce Field and Wyman Woods.

The parks advisory board will also present its recommendations for improvements to the parks. The estimated total cost of the improvements is about $3.1 million.

If the legislation authorizing the review of financing options goes through the regular three readings, it would be voted on at council's April 2 meeting.

In addition to the park projects, the city may also consider seeking financing for the purchases of vehicles. The purchase of a fire truck, medical unit and garbage packer is estimated to cost $800,000.

Brian Cooper, a director with the Robert Baird investment firm, reviewed three financing options Feb. 21 at a finance committee meeting.

About $140,000 from additional inside millage the city is collecting and a portion of the hotel tax collected from the Hyatt Place is earmarked for parks and recreation, Cooper said.

The city would expect to seek a 20-year bond issue to fund the capital projects, he said.

The vehicle purchases would be funded on a 5- to 10-year term, Cooper said.

"Right now, interest rates for bonds are at the lowest rate they've been for five years," he said. "It's a pretty good environment to borrow money."

The rate is more likely to go up than decrease further, Cooper said.

In considering the three funding options, the city will need to determine which offers the lowest interest rate, he said.

The first funding option, capital markets issuance, is the most common way for counties, schools and cities to borrow money, Cooper said. Under this option, the city would offer bonds in the market to potential purchasers, he said.

If some bonds were unsold, Baird would purchase the remaining bonds and work to sell them later, Cooper said.

"That's (our) job as an underwriter," he said.

On a 20-year term for the park projects, the capital markets issuance option would bring an annual debt service of $204,500, Cooper said.

The annual debt service for years 1-5 for the vehicle purchases (all three vehicles) would be $108,000, he said. The debt service for years 6-10 (fire truck and packer only) would be $68,000.

The city could also seek financing through the Ohio Capital Asset Financing Program, which is offered to Ohio communities by the Center for Local Government, he said. In this program, multiple communities combine borrowing needs into a single issuance, Cooper said.

A third option would be direct placement with a local or regional bank.

Baird would assist the city in determining which option would provide the lowest interest rate, Cooper said.

The process of securing financing for the projects would likely take 30 to 60 days, Cooper said.

The Pierce Field project, including the construction of a new multipurpose building, would not begin until after the ox roast in September, Parks and Recreation Director Sean Robey told the committee.

The Wyman Woods work, which would include taking steps to remediate drainage problems at the park, could begin earlier in the summer, he said.