Committee looks at YMCA, baseball options
There are currently two options left on the table for a recreational facility in Stallings. By their Monday, Nov. 14 meeting, the exploratory committee had decided to focus on either a baseball facility or a partnership with the YMCA.
“If we do any type of complex, we’ll focus on baseball,” committee member Ira Bostic said. “Is there money immediately available to do it? No. You have to have talks and discussions.”
The committee dismissed other options, such as a aquatic center or indoor complex in previous meetings. In October, the Charlotte Centre Curling Club gave a presentation, asking for help in building a curling center, but the projected costs were too high. Retrofitting an existing structure would cost between $500,000 to $650,000, while building a new one would cost between $1,300,000 to $1,500,000.
After seeing the YMCA move forward with their partnership for a facility next to the Cuthbertson school cluster, committee members agreed to re-open talks with the organization. Earlier in the year, committee members rejected the YMCA as an option, because the organization would not pay to buy the land. Instead, YMCA officials said they would pay for the full construction bill for a facility that would serve as a satellite branch for the Siskey YMCA, much like the satellite office that opened in Wesley Chapel.
“They’re buying land from the schools,” Stallings town council member and committee liaison Wyatt Dunn said. “That would be the best of all worlds, they buy the land back from us and do all the development.”
Bostic agreed, saying if the YMCA would pay the town back, the idea could work.
“If they’re willing to pay for for, thats a switch in their policy that might make it interesting for the town of Stallings,” Bostic said, adding that any repayment could be stretched out over a 30 year period.
The original Sportsplex plan called for the town to purchase an 83 acre parcel of land, then work with National Amateur Sports to build a minimum of four outdoor athletic fields plus the actual complex. Under that original contract, the town would have spent $3 million to purchase 62 acres at the corner of Stevens Mill and Stallings roads, with the remaining 21 acres donated. Stallings would have eight months under the proposal to buy the property. Town council members balked at the price tag however and created the exploratory committee to look at other options.
As for the baseball option, Bostic pointed out the town already had one willing tenant, in the Porter Ridge Athletic Association.
“Porter Ridge would probably love to manage that, but they have no money,” Bostic said. “Anything we’re talking about would take years, as I don’t see anybody in the wings to put up money for four to five baseball fields.”
Dunn suggested collecting money each year in the town’s capital improvement budget, to buy land and start construction later on. He said after speaking with Mike Vagnone from the Porter Ridge Athletic Association, the group’s optimal request was for four to five baseball fields and a rectangular field, including parking, concessions and restrooms. The only catch is that the committee still needs to collect cost estimates for any baseball facility. Committee members also floated the suggestion of letting voters decide on a bond to cover the cost of the facility.