Salina City Commissioners Monday afternoon voted to support a community fieldhouse type recreation center.
Fieldhouse Salina would be more than simply a recreation center. Rather, it would be a multi-use facility that would house basketball courts, volleyball courts, and indoor turf areas. The proposed $9 million facility, which has the support of the Salina Recreation Commission, would be built in the area of 5th and Iron, the location of the former Phoenix apartments.
Supporters say that the fieldhouse is necessary because there simply is not enough indoor facility room for all of the teams in Salina. Recreation commission basketball and volleyball leagues are at the verge of being capped, meaning that there can be no more teams or participants. Space at USD 305 facilities and at KSU Salina is utilized, but is becoming scarce. The addition of 7th grade sports is a contributing factor.
The fieldhouse would also be utilized for tournaments, and special events, bringing potentially thousands of people to Salina each year.
A privately funded feasibility study indicated that the facility could generate up to $10 million a year in Salina. The study also indicated that within three years the facility could be at 95 percent cost recovery.
Fieldhouse Salina has the support of multiple organizations in the community, including the Salina Family YMCA. The Y and the fieldhouse would compliment one another, offering programs that don’t compete with one another.
Funding for the $9 million fieldhouse would be through a public / private partnership. Supporters have already raised about $2 million, and are still fund raising. They city would contribute up to $4.5 million as well. Supporters say that more money is also available, in the form of $2 million in new market tax credits and a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant. That money is not guaranteed, though.
Several other successful public / private projects were brought up during the discussion, including Dean Evans Stadium, the First Tee program, and the Salina Soccer Complex.
The action on Monday gives approval for staff to begin formal conversations with the property owner and private investment group to address property acquisition and creation of a project development agreement. The goal is for the fieldhouse to be in operation by mid-2017.