Ad-hoc group looks to raise $100,000 for fieldhouse study

By Maura Wery

A representative of the ad-hoc group behind a proposed regional athletic complex told county commissioners Thursday that the group is trying to raise around $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study.

Fieldhouse advisory group chair Gail Urban brought her survey results and figures to commissioners to update them on the group’s progress. Urban said results of a survey of Junction City, Manhattan and Wamego residents pointed to the need for an indoor or outdoor sports facility central to all three cities. It would house basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer and other facilities in what is envisioned to be a 186,000 square foot complex.

Urban told the commission that the group is looking at a company called Sports Facility Advisors to conduct the study. They will determine whether the area can financially support the facility, and will stand behind their numbers.

“If they say there will be 16 tournaments, they will bring them in or they don’t get paid,” Urban said.

Urban has a couple of ideas on where to get the $100,000 cost of the study. She said more than 500 people signed up to be involved in the project, and she is going to go to them first. She will ask each family to donate to the fund and ask families involved with their teams to donate as well.

“If we were successful, we would raise $50,000, or half, just from them,” Urban said. Urban said the rest of the funds would have to come from public or private donations and donors. At this point, she has already had five “informal” offers of free land for the facility to be placed on. Urban said a site would probably be somewhere in the Manhattan area.

She said Junction City has declined an offer to join in on the facility, determining instead to create its own facility in Geary County for $2 million.

As of now, Urban and her group has yet to make a public plea for funds but she does have three large private donors in mind. Urban said she is going to go to them in a few weeks.

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