SHAMOKIN - It's a safe bet the basement of the American Legion Building will be the most fashionable public space in Shamokin on city council's approval of a $16,940 furniture purchase.

Four Jafco leather sofas at a combined $6,780, six chair-and-a-halves at $3,470 total, a leather chair and ottoman set at $1,695, five end tables at a cost of $1,245, five lamps totaling $975 and $300 worth of artwork are among the wares ordered from Bader's Furniture, a city furniture retailer.

Money for the purchase will come from an approximate $41,000 insurance settlement the city received last year from a toilet leak that occurred in December 2010, City Clerk Steve Bartos told council members during a public workshop session Nov. 7. The money could be used anywhere in the building, Bartos said, and council earmarked it for the basement.

On Tuesday, Bartos explained the money was transferred at the end of 2011 from the library fund into the general fund to be sure the city met its financial obligations. It is being slowly transferred back into the library fund, he said.

The purchase was approved on a 4-0 vote during Monday's monthly council meeting. Mayor George Rozinskie Jr. and councilmen William Milbrand, R. Craig Rhoades and William Strausser were all in favor. Councilman Michael Snyder was absent.

That followed a presentation Nov. 7 by Sherri Shebelsky, president of Bader's, and discussion among Bartos, councilmen and the mayor.

The cost for the furniture falls below the state's municipal bidding requirements, and no other quotes were sought to furnish the space.

Nine flat-screens

Council moved forward with a plan this year to convert the unused space into a recreation center styled after a living room centered around comfort and electronic gaming.

More than $75,000 in free labor was received by the city from Central Susquehanna Opportunities Inc., a regional nonprofit that hired workers for the project through funding related to Tropical Storm Lee flood recovery. The city has spent roughly $12,000 from the insurance settlement so far on materials such as lumber and drywall.

What's left of the settlement after the furniture purchase will be used to buy electronic equipment, Bartos said Tuesday, estimating nine flat-screen televisions and seven video gaming systems will be purchased.

A floor plan shows the gaming area - a portion near the front entrance - parceled into seven stations with seating and electronics equipment. Nearby is a stage area that already exists. Also new would be the kitchen/cafe area with couches arranged into two seating areas.

A concessionaire will be sought to operate the facility, including the cafe, on a contract basis.

The cafe section, including kitchen equipment and coffee-bar equipment and stylings, will likely be paid separately through recreation fund money, Bartos said.

The recreation fund is a separate tax and is assessed on city property the same way the real estate tax is assessed.

Milbrand is in favor of also having the concession operator oversee the third floor basketball court in an effort to offer the space for public use when not being used by Shamokin Youth Basketball League.

Fixing flooding issues

Having once been the longtime home to the local senior action center, the basement has been vacant since 2007. Frequent flooding and handicap access were cited among reasons the center was relocated.

The flooding issue remains, but the city is in the process of having it fixed.

Milbrand said Tuesday that during normal to heavy rainfall, water leaks through a parapet wall on the roof and filters all the way to the basement. It pools inside a storage room that has drains on the floor. The only time it would flood the entire 4,000-square-foot area, he said, is in the event of large storms like last September's Tropical Storm Lee.

Rick Bozza, code officer, said Tuesday that a pair of contractors have inspected the roof and that city officials are seeking estimates for repairs.