Sports Complex MUST be Dead on Arrival

By:  Diane Benjamin

Last night I actually asked the people around me if they heard the same things I did.  It was close to the end when Evan Eleff of Sports Facilities Advisory stated the complex will never pay for itself.  I asked him about it after the meeting ended.  He told me this is Parks and Rec, and if we were looking for a project that covered construction costs, this isn’t it.

It seemed like half of the meeting was background information on the number of kids in organized sports declining because of the costs.  The standard obesity rates and claims active kids turn out more successful followed.  In spite of those statements, the purpose of this complex isn’t to make local sports affordable, it’s to draw tournaments and people here to spend money.

The speaker made a point of saying this could not be just for soccer.  He then listed other popular sports, but they already have facilities:  basketball, volleyball, baseball.  A few minor sports like squash and cricket could be played there too, but there are limited participants in those sports now.  What is needed is soccer fields since the FAA wants them off the airport property.

In case you missed this story, safety has nothing to do with why the kids need to relocate:

This is the projected cost, it doesn’t include the cash needed to cover losses in the first few years:

Both mayors are likely salivating over these numbers:

The entire presentation will eventually be on line.

Economic Impact is a fictitious number, it’s closer to redistribution of wealth.  Taxes must be raised since neither town has spare money to spend.  The economic impact on you will be negative!

The economic impact of Uptown, the Coliseum, and the BCPA have all been negative for citizens.  I can see the majority of Bloomington Alderman killing this plan, I can also see Normal proceeding anyway.  Dream big at your expense is how they have operated for more than a decade.

One thing the speaker said struck me as informative.  Bloomington-Normal has more than an adequate number of hotels and restaurants to support the tournaments that may materialize.  That means currently these are under utilized, which means who is next to go out of business?

The synthetic turf would need to be replaced about every 10 years, the dome around 20.  Maintenance costs will need more taxes.

I applaud the presenter for at least saying up front this will never pay for itself.  The consult for the Coliseum claimed it would easily cover construction costs.  Mr. Eleff did utter the magic words:  Quality of Life.  I’m sure both Councils (the members present) perked up at that one.




19 thoughts on “Sports Complex MUST be Dead on Arrival

  1. Replace the dome in 20 years? Name something you own that has to be totally replaced in 20 years. Car, most probably, Roof, maybe. Siding, maybe. So I must ask, why would we deliberately even consider a Dome? Did any of the people that are behind this, grow up in this County or did the get moved in here for jobs?

  2. Is it possible that this was presented with an outrageous cost so that the cites could come back with the less costly soccer complex that they wanted in the first place? I can hear them now “look at the bargain we are getting”

      1. It’s ALWAYS for your health, safety or for the kids unless it is for entertainment that is I’m gonna add that one to the list, the first three are more for rules and regulations and “fees” for licenses, the 4th is just for $$$$ for the pigs and their cohorts so they can build stuff, get THEIR cuts and then slink away.

  3. This is the perfect plan for any local politician that doesn’t want to get reelected. In the end, I see no political will for this project.

  4. The *Only* way this should move forward is if it is privately funded, or built with bonds whose repayment and interest come purely from the revenues of the project (which ends up being mostly the same thing). Using last night’s speaker’s own numbers, the increased tax receipts will only ever pay for the interest on the debt load, and that’s if we can sell 1%-interest bonds!
    The study’s numbers were based on hosting a minimum of 8 sports tournaments a year, ramping up to 15. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think there is that much pent up demand, which means we would have to cannibalize other facilities, which means they would try to undercut and out-compete us. Further, if something similar is built in Joliet, Rockford, or Springfield and ours effectively collapses – and the consultant outright said both that there were other similar facilities under consideration within our ‘4 hour radius’ market and that similar facilities often host only 4-5 tournaments a year.
    As for the ‘do it for the poor, under-privileged children!’ aspect, does that mean we will be building this on the west side, vaguely near 9/55/74? That provides both the best transportation and the most benefit to the population this project claims most need it. (As opposed to Want it – that’s mostly east-siders.)
    This is just another coliseum boondoggle, this time with astroturf.

    1. It is BS about building the sport center for the poor. The poor pay proportionally more taxes than other economic groups. They will be paying for this complex even if they don’t or can’t afford to use it. Furthermore, it is not mine or the government’s responsibility to ensure a healthy life style for anyone. There is such a thing called personal responsibility. No one can force people to use this complex. The City of Bloomington has 40 parks, 30+ miles of Constitution Trail, on street bike lanes…there is plenty of opportunity for exercise.

    1. I’ve noticed that true quality of life exists in communities where the government doesn’t lead or push quality of life. Not a coincidence.

  5. Yep, the people touting this project are from Normal. Just look at the media coverage and see whose pushing it: Koos, McBride and McCarthy. Pay up Normal. This one is on you. Maybe Kevin can use it for Path Performance.

    1. Good point. As for McBride, he’s used to begging for other people’s money to fund his job at GLT. Perhaps, he can lead the campaign to whine for sports complex donations.

  6. get real. its a done deal. Tari and Koos slobbered all over their podiums when that report was read.

    1. Lol, not! They have to skip stuff like that to keep the costs down. No worries though, that will be addressed as time comes once there is no turning back. That’s the Koos/Renner plan, deceive to achieve.

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