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City Tables Fieldhouse Funding Vote

KSAL Staff - February 8, 2016 6:29 pm

fieldhouse salina

Salina City Commissioners Monday were reluctant to give final approval for additional funding for the Fieldhouse Salina project. In lieu of approving a second reading of an ordinance that would allow the city bonding authority to increase its funding contribution to up to $9.5 million for its share of the project, commissioners instead delayed the decision.

In 2015 the city agreed to contribute up to $4.5 million to the project, with supporters raising private funds for the rest. The project was initially expected to cost $9 million total. But that total was based on 2013 estimates.  An exact cost of the project will not be known until April, but it is anticipated to cost more for a variety of reasons.

On a 5-0 vote, commissioners decided to table the final vote. They have scheduled a special meeting for 8:30 in the morning on Tuesday, February 16th.

Commissioners expressed several concerns in postponing the vote. Among the concerns was the new cost, and also a perceived lack of transparency in the project.

City staff will research among other things, scaling back the project and ways to save money in other ways.

City Manager Jason Gage explained that the vote was not to approve the project itself, but to approve a funding source.

City staff cautioned commissioners that a long delay of the vote could put in jeopardy the goal of breaking ground on the project at the corner of Fifth and Ash this spring, and then be open for business in the spring of 2017.

Fieldhouse Salina will be more than simply a recreation center. Rather, it will be a multi-use facility. It will house basketball courts, volleyball courts, and indoor turf areas.

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 will also be utilized for tournaments, and special events, bringing potentially thousands of people to Salina each year.

Once built, the fieldhouse is expected to help generate other projects, and investors. Potential projects include, but are not limited to:

  • A high-end, 120-room, five-story hotel on Mulberry between Santa Fe and Fifth streets built by Salina-based Blue Beacon International.
  • Two museums, including the “Wings Over Salina Aviation Experience” and an automobile museum.
  • A bowling alley and indoor fun center

Plans also include narrowing Santa Fe from a four-lane street to a three-lane street. Traffic would flow in one lane in each direction, with a center turning lane. The redesign would open up more sidewalk space, thus opening up outdoor seating for downtown businesses.

All of the projects would be funded through private and public sources.  Along with the private funding, a key component would be STAR Bonds, and also TIF financing.

Tax increment financing, or TIF, subsidizes companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area or on a project site. STAR Bonds would have to be approved by the Kansas Legislature.

Copyright © Alpha Media, 2016.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Alpha Media’s express consent.

Bill Morrow

February 8, 2016 at 6:41 pm

they need to quit wasting our money on that crap and put it somewhere the need it

Warren Fair

February 8, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Am I right that the private funding will remain at 4.5 million and the city is going to pick up the remaining 9.5 million. This does not look like a 50/50 deal to me. Lets bring it to a vote of the people along with the sales tax vote. To few people are making the decisions here for this amount of money. Remember back when there had to be a citizens vote on tne proposed new expo center.

Sheryl Musfelt

February 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

As long as a protest petition isn’t started they will go ahead with what a select few want.

Lance Homman

February 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

You would think this was an Abilene project with the way you folks’ elected officials are spending other people’s money.

Keith Davis

February 9, 2016 at 4:19 am

The problem isn’t the facility being built in Salina. It is needed but the upfront question is how we can know the total cost of it before a final estimate id completed and submitted to the City Manager, Finance Director and the City Commissioners?

Doug Clemens

February 9, 2016 at 9:01 am

Every story I read about this always puts what supporters are thinking why not give non supporters equal time in these stories? I agree with others this needs to be put to a PUBLIC VOTE…… NO MAIL BALLOTS…… A REAL VOTE. The tax issue should also be voted on. If it takes petitions then so be it that can be arranged. The city manager and the city commissioners are in bed with special interest groups who are wanting tax payer monies.

Doug Clemens

February 9, 2016 at 9:10 am

To continue we have 50,000 people living here and they want us to believe that the figure is double that is why gyms are not available. Well people we have a 15 million dollar building sitting empty 90% of the time why not set it up for basketball and other things when the building is not being used. After all City Manager and Commissioners you spent four or five million more on the Bi-Center that you told us about. Plus those of us who complain about the bridge being fixed on Greeley are not seeing that done and the last thing we were told was some of the money for the Bi-Center would be used for the bridge. THE BI-CENTER IS DONE BUT NOT THE BRIDGE WHY WHY WHY? The taxpayers need to get involved and hold the feet of these people to the fire and find out where our hard earned tax dollars are going. It’s time to hold the City Manager and Commissioners to the taxpayers wants and needs not their own agenda’s.

Brad Cooper

February 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Potential projects also include a stairway to heaven and a golden unicorn. These propaganda stories amaze me. Talk about distribution of wealth.

Stan Clemons

February 10, 2016 at 11:56 pm

Let’s give Gage and the commissioners the stairway to heaven and get people in there that have the taxpayers best interests in mind.

Comments are closed.

City of Salina