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Martinellis Little Italy
Santa Stash 2017

Fieldhouse Funding Increase Approved

KSAL Staff - February 1, 2016 5:45 pm

On first reading, Salina City Commissioners Monday by a 4-1 vote approved additional funding for the Fieldhouse Salina project.

In 2015 the city agreed to contribute up to $4.5 million to the project, with supporters raising private funds for the rest. Monday, commissioners approved contributing up to $9.5 million.

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.

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.

Local officials are working with the Kansas Department of Commerce to see if STAR Bonds are feasible to fund the project. To receive the bonds, a project must meet very specific criteria including things like generating tourism to the area that include 30 percent of new traffic from outside a 100 mile radius, and 20 percent from outside the state.

Several other major unrelated downtown projects are already underway, including refurbishing the Lee Building into apartments, and a renovation of the Townsite Building into apartments and retail space, complimenting the studios of KSAL Radio that are already on the top floor.

Though commissioners approved the $9.5 million Monday, it does not necessarily mean that much money will be needed for the project. Other revenue sources, like STAR Bonds, are still a possibility.

While construction has not yet started, the fieldhouse project has been progressing. A designer, general contractor, and owner’s representative are all under contract.

Monday’s approval was preliminary, on a first reading. The second reading for final approval will be next week. A super majority of four yes votes is needed for approval.

The goal is to break ground on the project at the corner of Fifth and Ash this spring, and then be open for business in the spring of 2017.

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

James Blackwell

February 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Cost of steel is down. Cost of oil is down. Construction cost is down. Why is this increase justified?

Barb Shirley

February 1, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Because they threw in extras. THe field house is needed. It will make money. But the art and some of the extras are non sense. I have backed this project since day one but the cost keep going up.

James Blackwell

February 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Barb. I agree that Salina could use the center, And I appreciate the private investors and their money. I just find it amazing the amount of money this city spends on all of these projects. And then have the audacity to spend 30-40000 dollars in an attempt to raise our taxes.

Brad Cooper

February 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Its like everything when the powers that be decide to do something damn the voters

Keith Davis

February 2, 2016 at 2:41 am

My concern is that there is not a firm construction cost at this time. How can the commissioners honestly approve a project without a sure price tag? Never worked that way when I worked at the City.

Doug Clemens

February 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Where are all the protectors at that saved us from the Saline County Commissioners is what the question keeps coming up. Well to know those people they had an agenda on their own which was to get the size of the commission enlarged and now that they got that they are gone. So all you homeowners and business’s crab your behind because this city commissioners are going to destroy you and your bank accounts by the way they are spending hard earned taxpayer money. Until you all wake up an demand they stop they will continue. They proved how they are white collar crime people when they said they wanted to count the vote on the mail ballots they set up. They saw how the school district got theirs to pass and how easy it was to do without the public realizing how they pulled it off. Its time to close down this city commission and their leader city manager Gage. We need to pack them in a boat and send them down the Saline River.

Brent Williams

February 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Oh yea lets make Santa Fe even narrower. Who is bringing up these hair brain ideas? I’m with that Doug guy we need to take on these commissioners and get them out of office. Funny I see an ex-commissioner who I thought moved out of town and Salina politics after she was forced out of the commission. Only good I can say about her is nice video.

Brent Williams

February 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm

One other comment as I just noticed the survey. Both this project and the tax increase has received more no votes than the very few yes. But our dumb XXX commissioners are not smart enough to do what the taxpayers want which are the same people who elected them to office. This is their thanks to you for voting for them. When you see them some place in Salina let them know just how you feel about their under handed tactics.

Kelly Grace

February 2, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Once built, the field house is expected to help generate other projects, and investors. Potential projects include, but are not limited to: Hahaha this article should say: Once built, the field house is expected to help generate other projects, and PAD the pockets of those investors, whom are building a high-end hotel (like we need another hotel that pays workers minimum wage) bowling alley(pays minimum wage) restaurants that will narrow the roads, increase sidewalk so space the owners of restaurants can serve more customers, make more money(like we need another restaurant that pays minimum job) musuems (another minimum wage job) refurbishing apartments, and oh more RETAIL (that pays minimum wage). The tax payers of Salina should be outraged, and ask the commissioners do you own any business downtown where you will benefit, or already do benefit, do you have friends, business partners, where you and they will be benefitting by your corrupt ways of forcing the poor tax payers into funding all this so you and your friends of friends and friends of river will benefit? Yes lets all ask them to disclose this information. Let’s get the names of commissioners who are benefitting or will benefit. Let’s take a look at the power players forcing this burden on the tax payers, and see who they are? Is there any commissioners who own businesses downtown right now, or let’s say a travel tourism business, oh and a restaurant, retail space, or apartments? Well I do think there is by golly, I think they need to come forward and tell us about their business give the name of the business and let all the poor tax payers of Salina know they have their fingers in the cookie jar. Corruption, corruption, corruption. The tax payers of Salina should be asking the commission, the chamber, Jason Gage, and all others why are you not putting all your energy, and effort, and huge amounts of money, into bringing high paying jobs to Salina, why are you deliberately keeping high paying jobs coming to Salina? Oh that’s right then your friends and business partners who control Salina, just might have pay their employees a fair wage, instead of poverty wages. It’s funny how the commissioners, and all the cronies pushing this burden on the tax payers, dream in lala land that Salina will be like Boulder, Denver cherry creek, San Antonia, if we just push this river through, the downtown will make so much money. Really? A FEW like 1% will make so much money let’s be clear about that. Heres what the great people of Salina should demand. Bring in a good mixture of good paying jobs, like tech, industrial, make Tim Rodgers, and his staff actually earn the outrageous salaries they are screwing Salina for, to do nothing at the airport. Why are the people of Salina paying the taxes on buildings that are sitting empty at the airport? What happened Tim to the French company and the contract that was to be signed three years ago so all the aerospace workers who lost their jobs from Raytheon (hundreds) could be working right now? I think it’s time to clean house at the airport, and start saving the Salina tax payers some money. Move to the City, clean house, chamber needs to work on bringing business that pay a decent wage, and for Gawd sakes do not bring another hotel, restaurant, or retail here and brag about it and say you are creating jobs. Really who can live on $7.25 an hour? When Salina is economically healthy again, minimum wage is brought up to $11-$15 per hour with the majority of the people making decent wages, low unemployment rate, able to pay their rent and buy groceries, and not living in poverty, then we can talk about revitalizing of downtown until then everyone in Salina needs to demand NO increase in taxes for anything. And call BS on these commissioners.

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City of Salina