Town wants to get citizen opinions before moving forward
Before moving forward with any land purchases, the town of Stallings wants input from citizens regarding the proposed Sportsplex.
During a special meeting Friday, Jan. 14, council members agreed to hold at least one meeting for residents to come by and give their input.
“It’s my impression there’s pretty positive support in the community for the Sportsplex, but we don’t really have much of a way of knowing that,” Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton said. “I think we’re getting to a point where” officials need to hear that.
Originally broached this fall, Stallings hopes to use a public-private partnership to build an 80-acre complex, potentially consisting of an indoor facility and at least four outdoor athletic fields. Data collected by National Amateur Sports projects an estimated 131,000 people annually traveling to Stallings to use the facility, spending $105 per visit on average. It could be argued that figure is slightly low, as Mecklenburg County uses a $231 average spending cost, when doing projections. Multiplying $105 by 131,000 people, Stallings could expect to get an annual injection of $13.7 million into the local economy.
“We can and should bring this out to the broader community,” Paxton said.
At this first meeting, residents will have a chance to look at the different plans and give their opinion about financing for the project.
One scenario calls for Stallings to buy the land and lease it to National Amateur Sports. Once the lease is in place, National Amateur Sports would become the umbrella management organization that would recruit potential tenants. If Stallings purchased the land, the town would make debt service payments. The return on investment for the town would come in the form of increased land value, from hotels and related development.
A second scenario envisions an equity partnership, in which Stallings would provide annual payments for 10 years. At the end of that term, the town would own the land and operate as a minority partner, sharing in profits generated by the facility.
In both scenarios, National America Sports also would need to secure separate financing to build the facility.
The town could pay out of pocket for the land, using the General Fund; get a loan; or use a bond referendum.
The Sportsplex subcommittee will put together a draft agenda, including the time, for the citizen meeting, that the council will discuss and approve. The tentative date for the meeting is Feb. 10 at Stallings town hall.