TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Construction of Tupelo's $11 million-plus aquatic center may be ahead of schedule, but the funding to complete it -- and add other features needed to attract those swim meets next year -- isn't exactly set in stone.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said other things that weren't part of the original construction bid need to be added for the project to be successful, and they're going to cost more money to implement.
In this case, Reed says he's going to request $400,000 from the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau to go toward things the aquatic center needs.
"The construction phase has now developed into needing to supply the amenities inside, such as timing systems for the competitive meets, bleachers and locker rooms; [those are] some of the extra things mentioned in that request," CVB executive director Neal McCoy said.
CVB has already committed $300,000, spread out over a three-year period.
McCoy says he's not sure how much of the $400,000 they'll give, but doesn't think it's an unreasonable request from the mayor.
"They also understand at the same time that we have to be good stewards of that two-percent tax for the hotels and restaurants and make sure the money we spend is driving visitation back to the market, because that's ultimately what that money is for," McCoy said.
But not everybody is optimistic the aquatic center will do that.
"It will never -- I do not believe that it will pay for itself," Tupelo City Councilman Jim Newell said.
Newell and Councilman Mike Bryan voted against the aquatic center last year, in part, because of its cost. Still, Newell said he believes CVB should contribute to projects like this.
"Personally, I think they have a responsibility to come up with some additional money to shore up this project," Newell said.
Whether or not that's the only contribution as construction continues remains to be seen.
McCoy said a formal, specific request still has to be submitted by the mayor's office, detailing what the money would be used for.