NEWS

Kent sports complex plans move forward

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015

Kent County Levy Court was given a full summary of the vision of the Kent County Regional Sports Complex by the project’s team on Tuesday evening.

The complex, a project more than six years in the making, could become a reality by winter 2016. The facility, planned to be constructed in Frederica next to Del. 1, is planned to be equipped with 12 synthetic turf fields on 86 acres owned by Kent County.

Members of the Greater Kent Committee, alongside Trish Heffelfinger, executive director of a similar sports complex, the Maryland SoccerPlex, presented reasons why the Regional Sports Complex will be successful not only for those using facilities but the community as well.

The Regional Sports Complex plans on following the SoccerPlex’s business model of hosting many tournaments (both soccer and lacrosse and other sports as needed) to take place on an annual basis.

The SoccerPlex has found that for each tournament, there is at least one guest to player and with tournaments lasting between two and four days, players and their guests bring dollars to the area.

“We’ve found that 78 percent spend one or more nights nearby and 92 percent of them stay in hotels because many tournaments take place over the course of several days,” Ms. Heffelfinger said.

She also reported that her facility, located in Germantown, Maryland (30 miles outside Washington) increases local retail profits by 33 percent on tournament weekends.

One of the main perks to the plan for the Regional Sports Complex is all fields are turf, allowing play in nearly all weather conditions. Temperate winters in the area will allow for year-round play (most sports will continue play if temperatures remain in double digits) and the organizers plan to take a business approach.

“The main problem most of these facilities face is that the organizers go into the project with a dream and without looking at the reality and focusing on sustainability and growth,” Ms. Heffelfinger said.

The Regional Sports Complex, which is expected to top $24 million, will be financed through a combined $20 million via tax exempt bonds sold through M&T Bank and $4 million from the state and $1.4 million from the county.

If the funds are secured and the present timeline is kept, construction is expected to start in September or October of this fall and completed in fall 2016.

“This project has been in the works for more than six years and now that there is a financial method available to the county to get involved, I anticipate on allowing them to move forward with the project which is expected to bring in $24 million in state revenue,” Levy Court President Brooks Banta said.

Although Levy Court did not make a formal vote, the motion to authorize moving forward with the preparation and submission of an Application for Conduit Bond Financing is on next week’s business agenda.

The business meeting is on March 24 at 7 p.m. at 555 Bay Road in Dover. A full agenda will be available online at co.kent.de.us.

 

Source : http://delaware.newszap.com/