|Julia Thompson, Parks and Recreation Director
Cape Girardeau City Council
A motion to accept the recommendation of the Facility Feasibility Joint Committee.
The Amended Settlement Agreement reached between the MidAmerica Hotels and the City of Cape Girardeau provided direction regarding the use of the restaurant tax through 2030. Over the past six months, the Facility Feasibility Joint Committee has met with staff and consultants to complete an analysis of potential recreational type and hotel/convention center facilities that will contribute to the City and regional tourism through positive economic impact. The Facility Feasibility Joint Committee met to unanimously confirm their recommendation to pursue an Indoor Sports Complex last Thursday, November 6, 2014.
Two consulting firms were secured (Ballard King, Inc./Planning Design Studio Inc. and HVS, Inc. to review facility types that were deemed to provide the most likelihood of a positive economic impact to the region utilizing the restaurant tax through 2030 for investment capital and operational revenue. The Amended Settlement Agreement also provides a funding portion for the proposed new Police Station. As part of the study, Ballard King/PDS benchmarked three (3) sport/event type facilities: an Indoor Aquatics Complex, an Indoor Sports Complex, and an Agri-Expo Building (for Arena Park). These facilities were targeted in order to enhance tourism during the colder months of November through March when hotel occupancy rates trend lower. HVS, Inc. benchmarked a combination Hotel and Convention Center as part of the contingent factors for the feasibility of the study. This was a continuation of the analysis that had been initiated several years earlier but interrupted when the study indicated that the City could be liable for a heavy subsidy of the facility. HVS, Inc. continued the study when agreement was reached to combine both facilities (Hotel/Convention Center) with an option for the City to have limited investment and liability. The Joint Committee reviewed all consultant information and participated in stakeholder meetings this summer to help determine interest, issues, concerns and challenges. Both consultants have produced economic impact data, benchmarking analysis and preliminary estimates on facility construction, operational costs and return on investment. The Joint Committee is unanimous in their selection of the Indoor Sports Complex as their project of choice to recommend to the City Council for their consideration for investment using the Restaurant Tax. The Joint Committee also voted unanimously to not house the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in this facility at this time until more detailed information can be obtained about location viability.
The Restaurant Tax is estimated to bring in over $22.5 million through 2030. The Amended Settlement Agreement provides for $5 million to be allocated to the new Police Station leaving approximately $17.5 remaining. Finance Director John Richbourg recommends that the City not issue more than $12.5 million in bonds which would be paid from the proceeds of that tax. Any amounts used to support operating costs would reduce the amount that could be bonded until a revenue neutral or a positive revenue stream can be obtained. Consultant Ballard King estimates this to be a 3 – 5 year time frame with preliminary data; however, additional operational studies would provide a clearer picture on these estimates.
SUSTAINABILITY: ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS
Projects supported by the collection of the restaurant tax have provided for immense economic impact and opportunities to attract tourism and business to the Cape Girardeau region; from the Show Me Center, the Osage Centre, the Shawnee Park Sports Complex and the River Campus, these facilities have been an enormous benefit to the City and the region. While the exact size and location of an indoor sports complex has yet to be determined, selecting the multi-Sports Venue provides for the strongest versatility and regional magnet. The City already attracts many sporting events, tournaments and competitions for all ages. However, its current facilities are of a limited size and are already committed to a variety of community uses. Sports are big business and the consultants see this trend continuing. Many facilities of this nature have been built over the past five years and the possibility of public/private partnerships through leases, sponsorships and the opportunity to provide more elite sporting amenities from equipment, practices, training, clinics, tournaments and more would make this a unique venue in our region. Sporting events bring families who typically stay a minimum of 1 -2 nights in our area greatly impacting our hotel/restaurant and sales tax numbers. While this facility is targeted to bring in tourism; local usage would also be encouraged when practical. The goal for this facility would be to increase sports tourism thus increasing hotel, restaurant, sales tax and boost area businesses and economy.
To approve the recommendation of the Facility Feasibility Joint Committee and authorize staff to research viable options for an Indoor Sports Complex.
As part of these studies; public outreach and stakeholder meetings were held to inform local venues and interested groups of the projects that were being considered.
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