Cost estimate for county’s dream field presentedPublished 12:20pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014
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Lincoln County can build its “Field of Dreams” for only about $10 more in property taxes a year on a home appraised at $100,000, Ryan Holmes, principal engineer with Dungan Engineering, told the board of supervisors Monday morning.
“If you have a $100,000 house, that’s two trips to a fast-food restaurant,” Holmes said Monday afternoon at a Daily Leader editorial board meeting.
Holmes and Baseball Facility Concept Marketing Team members presented the engineering cost analysis to the board after the supervisors requested the estimate in February. That was a few weeks after the marketing team first brought the proposed project before the supervisors at their Jan. 20 meeting.
In a PowerPoint presentation Monday, Holmes estimated construction costs at $2.5 million for the five-field facility, which would be located on county-owned land between the civic center and the existing Hansel King Sports Complex.
“I think the new facility would be great,” District Four Supervisor and Board President Eddie Brown commented Monday evening, while underscoring he could not attempt to speak for the board as a whole. “I think it would be good for Lincoln County.”
Holmes calculated additional upfront equipment costs at $100,000, which would cover items required to properly maintain the ballpark. He estimated an additional $150,000 for engineering, legal and administrative costs, bringing the total project to $2.75 million, more or less.
The engineer also projected annual operating costs for the facility at $147,500, including employee salaries, insurance, field maintenance, utilities, advertising/marketing and miscellaneous costs.
In addition to the four 220-foot baseball fields and one 300-foot baseball field, the proposed facility, which would serve baseball players aged 7-14, would also include parking, bathrooms, two pavilions, five batting cages and a two-story concession stand and press box area.
In his presentation, Holmes also proposed potential funding sources, including a bond issue, donations, naming rights, sponsorships and possible grants down the road.
Using a $3-million total bond issue with a 20-year term and annual payments of $200,000 as an example, Holmes said a one-mill levy would be required. That would equal $10 in annual taxes per $100,000 in appraised value on a residence with homestead exemption and $15 in annual taxes on a non-homesteaded property.
The idea for the baseball complex actually goes back about five years, said Dr. William Kimble, District Four member of the Lincoln County Civic Center Commission, who was on hand for Holmes’ presentation to the board.
“We feel very confident that what the engineers have put together will build a facility that Lincoln County will be proud of,” Kimble said in the lobby outside the board meeting Monday morning.
Others on hand at the supervisors’ meeting on behalf of the project were Dustin Walker, chairman of the Baseball Facility Concept Marketing Team; Quinn Jordan, Lincoln Civic Center director; and Pat McCullough, District Three civic center commissioner.
Marketing team members say the new ballpark is needed because other facilities for youth baseball in the county are outdated and inadequate for league and travel play, and the existing Keystone Park, with two baseball fields for Dixie Youth League play, is located in the old industrial park and could be sold for economic development at any time.
Also, they note other ball fields in the county are scattered, and having a five-field complex in a central location would enhance economic growth. The new baseball facility would also complement the existing girls’ softball and tee-ball fields at adjacent Hansel King, providing one-stop sports facilities, proponents maintain.
“The complex being centrally located next to Hansel King would provide easier access for families,” Walker said during the editorial board meeting Monday afternoon. The new facility would be open to all leagues in Lincoln County, although they would not be required to play at the new complex, he added.
Following the cost analysis proposal Monday morning, the supervisors, at the suggestion of Brown, decided to take the proposal under advisement to allow them to review the matter thoroughly.
“There’s a lot to take a look at,” said Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.
After the meeting, board attorney Bob Allen said there are basically two types of bond issues that can be looked at – a general obligation bond, which can be approved by the board without a referendum, and what he called a specialty bond issue, which requires a public vote.
Even with a general obligation bond, the public can petition for a referendum, Allen said, although he noted he hasn’t researched the matter yet. He suggested grants might also be an option.
“There are not any grants to build these facilities, but there are some for supplemental items like walking trails and so forth,” Holmes said Monday afternoon.
“It’s early on,” Brown said Monday evening, “and I wouldn’t want to speculate on how the other supervisors feel, but it’s something we’ve got to look at. We know there are problems with the other fields.
“And there’s the possibility the Keystone facility may have to come to an end with industrial development.” Industrial prospects have been looking at the Keystone property, he said. “If you had to close the two fields down there, it would put a dent in the programs,” Brown added.
“This is a really wonderful place to live, and this could just take it up a notch,” Walker said Monday afternoon.
“We want the best for our kids, and this is an opportunity for all kids of the county to play as one. It’s our ‘field of dreams,’” Walker continued. “This is one of those projects that could really be a community changer,” he added.
“At this point, the ball’s with the board of supervisors,” Jordan said
Monday afternoon. In the meantime, he invited the public to post a comment or log a “like” at the Lincoln County Baseball Complex Facebook page.
“For those who are in support of the project,” he said, “look us up on Facebook.”