Local governments expanding into sports facility markets the last twenty years have not worked at well.The most current example takes place in Westfield, Indiana. The city opened a multi-purpose athletic complex (baseball, softball, soccer, football) five years ago. While it is impressive, the financial promises made are falling through. Now the complex is going back to the taxpayers needing more money.
Here’s more from The Indianapolis Star:
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook wants to start using the city’s food and beverage tax dollars to fund Grand Park operating expenditures, giving the sports campus moremoney to play with in 2020.
But his request is also a reminder that revenue from the complex that opened in 2014 still isn’t covering all of its own expenditures, even when leaving out debt payments, despite local officials’ initial hopes that the park won’t always rely on taxpayer money.
Altogether, Westfield is poised to spend somewhere around $12 million on Grand Park in 2020,according to city spokeswoman Vicki Duncan Gardner, when accounting for debt services and operating expenditures. The sports campus meanwhile is estimated to generate around $6 million in revenue, though some of it will remain as surplus.
Five years after Grand Park debuted, it’s still one of Cook’s most controversial accomplishments. His vision with the Grand Park plan, which in total will end up costing more than $100 million with interest and debt payments, was to make Westfield a youth sports destination, helping drive and diversify the economy.
The most eye popping financial number is the Grand Park plan will end up costing more than $100 Million with interest/debt payments. Going back to the original financial estimates when the park was proposed, the park was estimated to only cost $50-$60 Million. That is almost a 50% increase! Those numbers can be found on page 127 of the proposal. You can access the it here.