The Field House Project will brief the City Commission on 10 December. A packet was provided to the City with the background of the project and the cost. Some key points from the packet (Italic material is direct from the packet, bold highlight is my addition):
The proposal is basically this:
—Renovate Anneberg Park to become a top-notch baseball/softball park, with eight new all-turf fields. This would allow much more reliability in terms of scheduling for competitive tournaments, practices and recreation-league games. Soccer fields at Anneberg would be removed to make room for this. Other Anneberg amenities would remain unchanged, such as the lake, playground, and walking trail.
—Build an indoor recreation facility at CiCo Park. This 160,OOO-square-foot facility would have six basketball/12 volleyball courts, with indoor batting cages/pitching tunnels, indoor turf space for soccer/football/baseball practice, a rock-climbing wall, indoor children’s play area, and multipurpose rooms. Baseball fields and tennis courts would come out of CiCo to provide space.
—Also at CiCo, build a suitable track “infield” facility for throwing events, adjacent to Bishop Stadium, which the school district and private donors have recently greatly improved.
—At City Park, equip City Pool with a retractable cover over the SO-meter competitive area. The recently-rebuilt pool was constructed with that possibility in mind, and adding that would allow the pool to be used for far longer periods of time, providing swimming amenities throughout the winter. Also at City Park, reconstruct the six existing tennis courts into nine tournament-quality tennis courts, which are in need of repair. Decrease one baseball field from City Park to accommodate the additional space needed for additional tennis focus and to protect City Park green space.
—East of town along the U.S. 24 corridor, build a new soccer complex with 12 turf fields. We have lined up a potential private landowner willing to donate the land for that purpose, assuming the deal can be finalized.
This will certainly cost money, and we believe it merits considerable scrutiny and discussion about how to make this happen.
But the consultant found this: For a real out-of-pocket investment by the city of just over $1.7 million per year, the entire effort could generate an economic impact of more than $36 million per year for the community. As one member of our committee put it, “I’d take that investment return every day of the week!”
The total construction cost of the project is expected to be around $54 million, according to the consultants’ projections.
The consultants’ projections indicate that the city would need to subsidize the operation to the tune of about $2.6 million per year. The direct sales tax that the city would collect on increased economic activity directly related to the facility would be over $900,000 per year, so the actual out-of-pocket expense to the city would be just over $1.7 million per year.
As to the mechanics of how to pay for this, we would suggest consideration of a sales tax of one-half of one percent. It’s our understanding that that could finance the construction costs.
So the Field House project is not a plan that will be privately funded. The proposal now appears to be based on the use of City Park land, the redirection of the design of the City Parks, a permanent subsidy of a minimum of $1.7 million per year, possible management by Parks and Recreation and a ½ cent sales tax to pay for the construction cost. Billed as a good investment and a quality of life issue; it all hinges on the desire of the Manhattan Citizens and businesses to raise taxes.
The City debt was $268 million at the end of October. On November 19th the city converted $5.675 million in temp notes to GO bonds. These GO bonds included 1.8 million dollars for Discovery Center exhibits and will have a direct impact on mil levy of about .33 mills per year. The city also issued about 14 million in new temp notes. The Go bonds retired about 5 million in temp notes. So that gives us a net increase of around 9 million. The city debt will be pushing 280 million by the end of the year. The library bond issue also passed and will add a further 1.7 to 2 million to the quality of life.
The 10 December 2013 City Commission Work Session will discuss the Annual Economic Development Report and the Fieldhouse Project Request.