South Walton Sports Complex Update

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by WCTA, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Beatrice

    Beatrice Beach Comber

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    I am not in favor of spending 5.5 million for the purchase of the property for this sports complex. TDC funds cannot be used to purchase property.
     
  2. marilu120

    marilu120 Beach Comber

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  3. BeachSiO2

    BeachSiO2 Beach Fanatic

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    In regard to TDC funds, there is a beach nourishment project on the near horizon that will have a non-federal cost share in the ballpark of $45 million.
     
  4. j p nettles

    j p nettles Banned

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    Let me guess. The county wants to buy the land for the park from M.C. Davis.
     
  5. fishwalton

    fishwalton Beach Comber

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    property


    Not exactly...Advocates lead by the M. C. Davis organization want the county to spend $5.5 million to buy about 40 acres from M. C. Davis. This is yet to be determined but will be aired at the BCC meeting tomorrow at 4pm at the annex in south Walton. Davis owns property next to plot as well as the plot where a new high school may go which is next to the proposed sports complex.
    As a private enterprise the sport complex proposal can do or die on it's own accord. Dragging the county into the deal is not a good option for taxpayers as it's already known to be a money looser from the start and will require annual taxpayer funding infusions to keep it going.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  6. fishwalton

    fishwalton Beach Comber

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    The Attorney General opinion is related to beach front land, not land miles away from the beach. The comparison is apples and oranges.
     
  7. fishwalton

    fishwalton Beach Comber

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    Who Benefits

    Map - Who Benefits
     

    Attached Files:

  8. s dubbs

    s dubbs Beach Crab

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    Donate the land!

    Good concept, but very poor use of County funds. With a land donation, it may make sense, but the County needs to budget both operating loss and capital reserve accounts to accommodate the losses and ongoing maintenance these types of facilities historically create.

    Bay County already controls the sports tourism business just 10 or so miles down the road at Frank Brown Park, and South Walton’s hospitality business is already performing at pre-recession levels, and caters to a tourism sector that is at a much different (higher) price point than the sports travel business that brings in families that primarily stay at affordable, limited service hotels.

    County funds would be much better used in expanding and improving the recreational facilities at Helen McCall Park, not to mention paving roads, expanding schools and encouraging real economic development to attract larger employers.

    Again, it’s a very good concept, but overall a poor idea if presented as a County-funded land acquisition and development project. Seems if it was such a profitable venture that the landowner/developer would develop it themselves…
     
  9. tsutcli

    tsutcli Beach Fanatic

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    The supporters of this boondogel seem to want to emphasize the up-scale nature of those who would come here for lacrosse. While this may or may not be true it certainly wouldn't come close to generating the revenue needed for this complex. And you can believe that if it were, Bay County would put in the same facilities. Let's not try to compete with their established business, we will lose. We already attract the affluent segment of the demographic that comes here.
    Let it be a private enterprise
     
  10. fishwalton

    fishwalton Beach Comber

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    Common sense fiscal responsibility

    ====================================================

    This is the best common sense fiscal analysis I have seen floating around on this subject. It is extremely thoughtful and well written. This is a public record

    MEMORANDUM

    DATE: June 10, 2013

    TO: Board of County Commissioners
    County Administrator
    Tourist Development Council

    SUBJ: Proposed Sports Complex

    This is to ask the Board of County Commissioners to very carefully consider the proposal for a sports complex on U.S. 98 in the southeast corner of the county as described in the Daily News. I believe it will prove to be a serious financial burden on whoever tries to build and operate it.

    In September 2011 Crossroads Consulting Services delivered a Feasibility Study for a Proposed New Sports Complex in South Walton County, Florida. You may see the report at www.visitsouthwalton.org/information-center-report by clicking on the Sports Study icon. The study was based on the Tourist Development Council owning and operating

    • Six lighted baseball/softball fields
    • Four to six lighted multi-purpose soccer/football/lacrosse fields
    • Supporting elements such as concession stands, restrooms, administrative offices
    • On-site parking.
    This line up differs from the description noted in the newspaper article, but nonetheless, they ought to be comparable.

    The Crossroads study estimates construction will cost on the order of $11.3 million to $13.5 million. Operation from March 1[SUP]st[/SUP] through October 31[SUP]st[/SUP] was estimated to generate 30,940 to 33,320 room nights and generate $179,000 to $193,000 annually in Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenues in a stabilized year of operations (less until the complex is complete and being well used).

    But, the study says: “From a cash flow perspective, the proposed new sports complex is estimated to realize an annual operating loss ranging from $378,000 to $431,000 including a capital reserve but before taxes, debt service and depreciation in a stabilized year of operation. As such, a specific funding source would be required to fund the operating subsidy”.

    The study concludes that the benefits derived from the TDT “do not appear sufficient to support on-going financial operations or debt service on the project.”

    In addition:

    • The site identified in the Daily News was considered in the Crossroads study as site “N”. It was the least desirable of the seven sites studied. A site between East and West Hewitt Roads was identified as the best. The analysis for site “N” and others in the southeast portion of the County cited a lack of appropriate development, especially hotels and restaurants. Site “N” is on a Scenic Corridor. The study also notes the “location in southeast Walton County would tend to drive users to hotels and restaurants in Bay County, which would be beneficial to the western Florida economy overall but not to the tourist economy of South Walton.
    • There is a serious need for sports facilities for residents south of the bay, but making a TDT nexus with the proposed site is problematic.
    • Work I did on a similar proposal for the City of Crestview indicated that successful sports complexes need more baseball fields than proposed and that maintenance and management of the facility for visiting teams is very expensive. The successful Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach operates at a deficit. It is subsidized by the city with TDC funds generated by vigorous marketing of a special events staff. In addition, the Park Manager told me that the visitors have priority for facility use in order to create the TDT nexus and generate tax revenue to subsidize the operating loss. Success brings thousands of young visitors to lodgings located a few hundred yards to a few miles away on the beach. Visitors to a South Walton complex would find lodgings either quite expensive or quite a distance away.
    • According to property records on the Property Appraisers website, Walton County sold the parcel in question (05-3S-18-16000-001-0021) to Florida Community Services Corporation for $100 on September 13, 2007. Six days later on September 19, 2007 the parcel was sold to Forest View LLC for $10,130,000. The owner now proposes to sell the county its land back for something like $5 million. It appears the county already has about $15,000,000 invested in the project. More will not make it better.

    The need for athletic fields in the rapidly growing South Walton area is critical. I urge the County Commission to seek a better arrangement for providing playing fields for those residents. I believe a nexus between the TDT and the project proposed does not exist in any practical way. And I believe a hastily chosen project will prove a financial burden to Walton County.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Signed

    Michael M. Flynt
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  11. marilu120

    marilu120 Beach Comber

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    fishwalton, Do you happen to know how Mr. Flynt came up with this figure?
     
  12. Zebraspots

    Zebraspots Beach Fanatic

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    Bed taxes are already up 20% over last year, but we need to spend millions on land and a facility and operate it at a $500,000 a year loss to bring folks here?

    Yet we can't afford to provide more recreation options for residents?

    I am definitely missing something.
     
  13. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    The idea comes from landowner and businessman M.C. Davis of Freeport. Davis, who owns about 113 acres along U.S. Highway 98 two miles east of County Road 395, wants to sell the property to the county.


    The man who founded the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center approached former Walton County Tourist Development Council Director Dawn Moliterno a couple months ago and was encouraged to take his proposal to county commissioners. He will make his pitch Tuesday.


    Davis says the land would be a perfect for a sports complex, which he believes South Walton needs.


    If feedback at a recent workshop is any indication, residents also seem to think it’s a good idea.


    As a selling tool for his property, Davis has done extensive clearing, surveying and research on the type of sports complex that he thinks should go there.


    His idea call for four softball fields; four multi-purpose fields to be used for soccer, lacrosse, or football; six sand volleyball courts; hiking and biking trails; playgrounds; a 25,000-square-foot skate park; and 1.8 acres for an amphitheater.


    Davis said the main reason for the complex is to serve tourists and provide “much-needed” infrastructure.


    “Families travel all over with traveling sports teams and center their vacations around them,” said Marilu Lammon, Davis’ assistant.


    Lammon said parents will spend $7 billion this year on such “playcations.”


    She said the Morgan Sports Complex in Destin brings in an estimated $6 million a year through families planning their vacations around sporting events.


    Davis says the type of fields he is proposing would attract more affluent sports enthusiasts.


    “A lacrosse field is something no one else has around here, and it is an affluent sport attracting people with incomes of more than $100,000 annually. They will bring their families and spend money here, and we would have no competition for them," he said.


    The proposed amphitheater would be twice the size of the Seaside Amphitheater and have a similar grass seating area.


    Lammon said they already have been contacted by producers of the 30A Songwriters Festival, who are interested in using it.


    “People who love arts and culture stay longer and spend more,” she said.


    Davis said it would take only six or seven months to get the complex ready for use.


    “If the TDC wants to purchase the property, they would do their own thing,” he said. “But this is how we envision it happening, and we are doing the preliminaries on presenting the concept.”


    The property has been used as a wastewater spray field in the past, but Davis said he and the county have conducted an environmental assessment and the land is good to go.


    Commissioner Cindy Meadows said she likes the idea but wants to look at all the details.


    Meadows said the project could be funded out of the TDC’s bed tax collection. She said her understanding is that raising taxes would not be necessary, but a financial analysis is needed to make sure.

    http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/m-c-davis-to-pitch-sports-complex-in-south-walton-1.156535
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  14. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    M.C. Davis and a group have a proposal for a sports complex in south Walton. Davis has a 36 acre parcel he is offering to the county. Davis told commissioners at their Tuesday meeting he bought the property and has spent money on it. Davis said he would like the commissioners to express their level of interest in the land and if it qualifies, then take it back to the TDC. The matter was brought up by commissioner Cindy Meadows.


    Commissioners were told there is an emphasis on travel teams in youth sports. Helen McCall was cited as being too small and the Freeport Complex is not close enough to the beach to bring in tourism. Other surrounding parks, such as Frank Brown Park, were shown.


    The land is near Emerald Coast Middle School, is cleared, is flat and is over 90% uplands. The plan would have softball fields, sand volleyball, lacrosse fields, playgrounds, hiking and biking trails, a skate park, multi-use fields and an amphitheatre.


    Commissioner Bill Chapman said he has played sports, but feels the present location has limited hotels, motels and fast food establishments. He said he has played travel ball and they look for a reasonable place to stay. Davis’ team said, looking at Frank Brown Park, many of the users stay in short term rentals, they have plenty of hotels and fast food. They were told, if they build it growth will come.


    Chapman said he understands they are asking the TDC for seed money or to purchase, and asked how long it would take to get the money back. A top of the line park is estimated at $8million. Davis said Regional Utilities has graywater available and with savings they could build the park for around $5m to $5.5 million. Davis told commissioners he can’t say it would make money, but said there are businesses and others that want to participate.


    Commissioner Meadows said they had previously looked for land to build a park, but could not find any. She also said they can not expand Helen McCall Park. Meadows said there are more homes available for rentals. She said people rent houses for several families and this means rooms and places to stay. Meadows said the area is set to become a mega center in about 5 years.


    Davis said the land up front is being offered to the school board for a high school or middle school. He said he is not a developer, but will have some commercial, a police substation and emergency station. He said this is the last of land that can handle a sports complex.


    Meadows asked to take the next step and commissioner Comander agreed. Commissioners agreed they should put together a committee and make sure this is what they need to meet the needs. They also want workshops for public participation. Davis said time is of the essence, but he will work with them. He also said even those against him agree with them giving Alaqua Animal Refuge land for their expansion. Bob Hudson thanked Davis for what he is trying to do. He said there is a need for fields for kids, whether they put heads in beds or not. There were a number of audience members in support of the project. Commissioners will have staff move forward.
     
  15. j p nettles

    j p nettles Banned

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    It helps that Davis financed the campaigns of most of Walton's elected officials.
     
  16. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    Helps what? Getting a park?
     
  17. tsutcli

    tsutcli Beach Fanatic

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    It worries me that the Davis' Team said "if they build it growth will come." referring to hotels and fast food joints (post #38 above). Is that what this all about and is that what we envision South Walton becoming? What's next, our very own Thunder Beach? Why this obsession with copying what PCB has done? Are we going to completely subjugate the unique character of this area on the alter of development to profit a few opportunistic individuals who want to tap TDC funding for their own gain? I could agree with the building of a small community facility for residents and tourists who want to play basketball,etc.. The white elephant that is being discussed will be a financial drain on the community forever.
     
  18. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Why do people feel that this proposal would even be competition for Frank Brown Park? Below are the current resources available to FBP users and doesn't even come close to what is proposed in South Walton.

    Welcome to Frank Brown Park Facilities:

    • (9) Softball / Baseball Fields
    • (1) T-Ball fields
    • (1) Miracle League Field
    • (3) Soccer fields
    • (4) Multi-purpose football fields
    • (4) Tennis courts
    • (2) Outdoor basketball court
    • (2) Shuffle-board courts
    • (1) Indoor gymnasium
    • (1) Under the Palms playground
    • (1) Large group picnic pavilion
    • (1) 22-acre festival site
    • (1) Freshwater Youth Fishing Pond
    • 1.5 miles of greenways & trails
    • (1) Fenced dog play area
    • (1) Aquatic Center
     
  19. tsutcli

    tsutcli Beach Fanatic

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    Read post #34. why should we undertake a money losing public project like this which, if you believe the first sentence of the study, is targeted to getting heads in beds/growth?
     
  20. fishwalton

    fishwalton Beach Comber

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    I haven't talked to Mike about his analysis so I really don't know what the answer might be.
     

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